Sargent admits he ‘struggles to use all the downforce sometimes’ in F1 · RaceFans

Sargent admits he ‘struggles to use all the downforce sometimes’ in F1 · RaceFans

Logan Sargeant says his points tally at last month’s US Grand Prix was partly the result of him gaining more confidence at Williams.

The rookie Williams driver admitted he still needs to make gains in qualifying, having finished at the bottom of the timesheets in both grid-setting rounds in his home race, but said those gains are coming.

“Austin was not an easy match, as she only played one session,” Sargent said. “You can’t really find where you want to go with the tools, everything happens so fast.”

However, his race pace was strong enough for him to finish twelfth, and he was promoted to the final points position after Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc were disqualified. He said it’s not the first time he’s felt this competitive in this year’s race.

“I would say there were races this year that were also close to that level of pace,” Sargent said.

“I think things are getting better and better. Austin as a whole wasn’t a terrible weekend. Friday I was pretty close to where I should be, but I made a little mistake in qualifying. Yeah, Saturday was definitely a struggle, it had a question mark.

“But then on Sunday it was back to where I expected to be. We worked hard overnight to find direction, mainly using the instruments on the wheel, just to get better balance.

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“We were changing things up lap by lap, trying to tie the car together from corner to corner and I think that’s what I was missing on Saturday. I was able to reconnect with that on Sunday.

Sargeant’s point in Austin was one of his few strong results since the summer break, during which he suffered a series of incidents and setbacks. However, he was satisfied with his basic pace.

“I think since the summer break it’s been a lot better. There were times when the qualifiers were going really well.

“In Singapore, I was on a great lap and the gearbox went out. There’s not much I can do about it. Japan, I was where I needed to be and I made a silly mistake.

“So it’s not like the pace isn’t there. It’s all coming together, it’s getting better and better, getting stronger and stronger.

He believes that “the qualifying pace was closer than the race pace” more often than not. “I didn’t get it right in Austin and Sunday was really good.

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“So I think if I can get back to what I was doing from the one-lap pace before and make sure I do a good job out there, get as close as I can and then try to have another good Sunday, that’s all I really want.” You need to do.”

Sargent candidly admitted that during his freshman season he “struggled at times to use the amount of downforce I had.”

“It can be quite surprising how much grip there is and trying to understand that,” explained the driver, who moved up to Formula 1 from Formula 2 last year. “I feel like I’m much closer to knowing my maximum at all times, which is obviously very helpful.

“Just finding the threshold level between grip and downforce. I feel like it’s now — there’s been a little bit of a switch where now I go into a high-speed corner and I pretty much know where the limit is. That’s been really nice, just to move naturally forward from Sense of leadership.

“But I think the biggest thing to keep working on is the little things that you would never do in the junior formats. So use the tools more, start early on the weekend in that sense, and understand how they can be used to help you more. “You don’t realize it. But those little things make a big difference in warming up the tires, things like that.”

He said he consulted with Williams teammate Alexander Albon “recently, just to try and help me on that front,” because there is a lot of potential that can be unlocked from the car. “He was pushing me forward.

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“Those are the little things that are not natural to me. But the more you start to understand them, the more you start to extract from them, and the amount of time you can find from those things is unimaginable.

As his understanding of the car improved, Sargent became more confident about providing feedback to his team during races, something he applied during his run to the breakout point.

“Just knowing how hard it is to drive a car when the tires blow up gave me the feeling that they want me to keep going, but now is the time to stop.” He explained that this was just from previous mistakes.

“Normally of course you have to trust what (the engineers) say. But I also know how it feels in the car and I feel like I got to a point where I also knew the strategy, I knew where we were in the race and I knew that if we stopped, I could still make it. To the end.

“I know when I’m losing too much, when there’s too much at stake, and when we just need to move forward. And I feel like that’s where I’m getting better.

His race day improvements were highlighted by a 12th place finish at the Mexican Grand Prix a week later, before being forced out with a fuel pump issue, and then finishing one place outside the points at the Brazilian Grand Prix seven days after that.

But he will still look to make improvements in his pace in qualifying. He failed to set a representative time in Mexico while Albon qualified 14th, and in Brazil he started on the back row for the sprint and grand prix.

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