A pragmatic Alexander Albon says “that’s the way it goes sometimes” as he dropped outside of the points-paying top ten with just two laps to go in the 2019 British Grand Prix.
Albon’s hopes of scoring points in his first British Grand Prix ended with two laps to go as his tyres went off the performance cliff, courtesy of a unusual power unit issue.
While his Scuderia Toro Rosso team-mate Daniil Kvyat struggled in qualifying at Silverstone, Albon started a fine ninth for his first Formula 1 experience of Silverstone.
The Thai-born British rookie lost a position to the Renault of Nico Hülkenberg at the start but ran on the fringes of the top ten throughout the race, enjoying battles with the like of Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Räikkönen.
Albon stopped for Medium tyres on lap thirteen and had planned to stop for a second time later in the race but a power unit issue, noticed by Honda, had left the car positively electrically charged. It meant Albon was forced to complete the rest of the race on the same set of tyres, a pit-stop being deemed unsafe.
Running eighth with just ten laps to go, Albon dropped out of the points paying top ten on the penultimate lap and finally dropped to twelfth when overtaken by Lando Norris on the final lap.
“It wasn’t an easy race for me managing the
tyres,” said Albon. “When the safety car came out some
drivers got lucky, others didn’t. We had an issue with the car where we
couldn’t pit or touch the car, so we had to stay out while others around us
pitted. It was a frustrating race, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Scuderia Toro Rosso technical director Jody Egginton points to Albon’s expired tyres too as the reason he lost out at the end of the race, while team-mate Kvyat showed the team’s true pace by finishing ninth.
“Today’s race has been quite eventful and, although we have scored points, we will be leaving here questioning what we could have done better.
“Alex put in a fantastic drive, especially when we consider he was managing an issue with his car all race which was limiting pit strategy options at various points.
“Even if he did a great job managing his prime tyres, they were finished two laps from the end of the race and he could not keep Hulkenberg behind.
“Dany’s race was slightly less eventful, and we took the opportunity to move to the base tyre during the Safety Car period, which allowed him to attack in the last third of the race but unfortunately, he ran out of time to get past Kimi.”
Egginton went on to say the team’s strong performance, despite Albon’s tyre issues, was expected but remains aware of how competitive the mid-field of 2019 has become.
“We have extracted a level of performance from our cars more in line with expectation here, which is positive, but the closeness of the midfield means there is no room for error and we have to keep developing aggressively.”