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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Anna Malyon

Alex Albon wants Azerbaijan GP "carnage" amid Christian Horner fears

Alex Albon believes "carnage" in Saturday's Baku Sprint will be the only way his Williams team can collect points.

The format change sees the creation of a second qualifying session. The first, for Sunday's Grand Prix, will take place on Friday as usual, with the Sprint now a standalone event – the grid set by a "shootout" event earlier on the Saturday.

As with any change, there has been a divided reaction so far to the removal of that second practice session. Speaking exclusively to Mirror Sport in Baku, Albon expressed his belief that the new format "makes more sense" than its predecessor.

The Williams driver believes that the Sprint weekends will be more intense but interesting as a result. However, he warned that, as there are now four teams competing at the top, it will be even more difficult for others to score points.

He explained: "You've got Aston Martin now in the mix. If those four teams don't crash it's kind of a bit boring for everyone else in that Sprint race and there is not much to win. Of course, we are going to try and beat those four teams, but we know how difficult it is to beat them and we would have to rely on a little bit of carnage for it to happen."

Such drama is what Red Bull chief Christian Horner warned of a few weeks ago, as he slammed the "absolutely ludicrous" decision to hold the first Sprint of the year in Baku – concerned about the risk posed by putting on an extra race on the fast but tight street circuit.

Christian Horner doesn't think an Azerbaijan Sprint is a good idea (Getty Images)

With eight points available in the Sprint, the four top teams will be best placed to claim them, leaving others with little to fight for. But Albon still intends on pushing for reward, hoping that the misfortune of others will provide him with an opportunity.

He said: "So that's maybe where people get aggressive, because you're going to need to be aggressive to beat those four teams."

Williams have shown promising signs for far this season. For example, Albon was able to get into Q3 and secure a P8 start in Melbourne. He was looking good to convert that into points, before crashing out of the race.

Baku will host the first F1 Sprint of 2023 (Getty Images)

The Thai-British driver believes he has the car to compete higher up the grid and knows he has the motivation to fight against the higher teams. He added: "We've really put ourselves more toward the midfield and I don't see us losing that.

"So I feel like we are in a position now where we've got opportunities – more opportunities will come. Unfortunately, we haven't scored in every race when we did have the opportunity, but we saw last year we scored points when, realistically, we didn't really have the car to do it.

"This year we have a car that can. It's good. It gives me energy. It gives me motivation for this year to do a good job and help score some more points."

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