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AUSTIN, TX – It wasn’t a perfect weekend for Logan Sargent, but the result was exactly what he wanted, with four Grands Prix and a Sprint race to go and fight for his future.
Regardless of the failures of Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton, the American driver scored his first Formula One point, becoming the first American to score an F1 point since the 1990s.
And because he put himself in a position to benefit from such punishments. He was competing with teammate Alex Albon – a crucial yardstick when comparing F1 drivers – and finished more than six seconds behind Albon in the final stages of the United States Grand Prix before Albon’s five-second penalty for track limit violations was applied.
It is the right orientation that comes at a crucial time for the beginner.
Going to score his first @F1 points pic.twitter.com/9w3IX9wZAl
— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) October 24, 2023
The future of the Sargeant seat has come into question over the past few months. The 22-year-old has endured a downward spiral since his F1 return from the summer break, such as on the Q1 lap at Suzuka, when he crashed in the final corner, but was on a competitive lap, “on the line with Alex,” team boss James Volls said in Qatar.
Sergeant speed is something that cannot be denied or learned. But the Sargeant’s raw speed can cross the line, so he can be very aggressive on the throttle. It’s a fine line; Learning the right progression takes time, understanding when to call to finish a competitive lap or finish a race.
“I can see his performance,” Albon said in Qatar. “I think he doesn’t get the respect he deserves. There is a lot of speed and skill in the Logan. I think he was a little bit distracted by the two mistakes he made.
“… I think he needs a little more time and confidence.
Time and self-confidence are crucial elements in Sargent’s story, and they fit Volus’ public opinion. “We – and I have said this publicly – have a responsibility to invest in our junior drivers,” said the team principal in Qatar. We put it out there, and didn’t give it any test mileage. I’m used to 30,000 kilometers (18641.136 miles), not 850 kilometers (528.166 miles).
The start of the weekend at the US Grand Prix, the second home race of the season, did not promise a standout appearance for the American driver as he finished last in both the final and the final. And the race did not give much confidence. “We were still very disconnected from high to low speed, and that was a bit of a challenge,” Sarjant said in a team briefing. “I struggled to be quick where I needed to be quick to get a chance to pass. I’m still looking for a little speed.”
However, compared to previous race weekends, Sergeant kept it off the wall and completed the pre-GP sessions cleanly. With a lack of test miles and a quick ascent from Formula Three to Formula One in just two years, this track time is crucial to understanding the car and building confidence. Williams didn’t get to do much with Sergeant’s car ahead of the Grand Prix in a par-parking situation, but the rookie said at the team briefing: “We worked through the system using the tools on the steering wheel to move the car to the right. direction”
That extra time, work and late grid congestion paid dividends on Sunday.
The Aston Martin and Haas drivers started from the pit lane and moved Sergeant up to P16. He nailed the start but claimed an anti-stall after taking the sausage barrier at Turn 1, which cost him a few places. Sargent took to the grid, making crucial breakthroughs en route to a P12 finish – he was “mostly satisfied” with the result and performance and “proud of myself with (Saturday’s) turnaround” but left feeling “very gassed”. at the end”
Well done, @LoganSargeant pic.twitter.com/hNIOif8i8l
— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) October 23, 2023
It was several hours later, while Sergeant was sitting on a plane somewhere, that stewards disqualified Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc from the race – boosting the Williams rookie to a P10 finish. It was the first time an American driver had scored a point in an F1 Grand Prix since Michael Andretti came to McLaren in 1993.
“It’s amazing to score my first point on the field after a tough weekend,” said Sargent. I am proud of this team and myself for the hard work and progress we have made this season. We worked hard overnight to find a positive direction with the car, and we found that.
Volls said in Qatar that Williams won’t make a call about Sargeant’s seat until the end of the season, but this is a significant step for the rookie. It took time, confidence and patience, but getting to this point boosts Sarge’s bid to compete with Albon. Tracks not suited to the FW45 on the schedule, the Williams team-mate comparisons and limiting costly mistakes remain the rookie’s measure of success.
It’s about the whole weekend, not perfect.
(Lead image: Dan Eistene/Formula 1 via Getty Images)