Formula 1

Alexander Albon: “Finishing last didn’t show what really happened”

3 Mins read
Credit: Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images/Red Bull Content Pool

Alexander Albon was the only driver of the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team to finish the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on Sunday.

Starting in sixth, Albon dropped a place at the start when he was overtaken by Scuderia Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc but was promoted back up to sixth when Pierre Gasly had to retire.

The race was all a bit quiet for Albon, following in the Daniel Ricciardo, Leclerc and Albon train. Things took a bit of a turn when the safety car came out due to a Max Verstappen incident. On the race restart when the safety car went in, Albon took a spin and wasn’t able to join the pack till the last car went past, demoting him down to fifteenth – the last position on the grid after the five retirements.

He was unable to chase down anyone in front of him and crossed the line last.

Albon said: “Finishing last didn’t show what really happened throughout the race, it was tricky out there and it was one of those races where we spent lots of time behind other cars in a train. I don’t really know what happened at the re-start yet.

The tyres were cold and I had to push hard to try and stay ahead of the cars who had pitted under the Safety Car, which caused the spin, but it also felt like I may have got clipped but I’m not sure. It all just happened so quickly. In hindsight maybe we could have done something different, it was a difficult one, if we pitted for softs like the other cars did towards the end of the race then we could have seen a much better result.

Obviously, it’s not what we wanted but I’m going to focus on Turkey now and take the positives from how the car felt and an improved Saturday.”

Verstappen: “To score zero points is obviously not what you want”

Verstappen was the victim of an unfortunate retirement. He had been having a very strong race, gaining second place after a tough battle with Valtteri Bottas.

On lap 50, coming into Turn Five, Verstappen’s back right wheel punctured sending his car into the gravel. He was unable to get himself out of the gravel and had to retire from the race.

“I had a good start and was enjoying fighting and staying with both Mercedes cars. I had a good start and got past Lewis, I pitted early to trigger the pit stops and Valtteri followed, but he had damage and started holding us up after the stop so we lost a lot of time to Lewis who was in clean air,” said Verstappen.

Once I got past him, the pace was there and the car felt good. I was actually having a lot of fun and then suddenly on the straight I lost the car because of some sort of tyre failure, so it’s a big shame because it would’ve been very nice to have second place and another podium. It is what it is and to score zero points is obviously not what you want but overall the race itself was very positive.”

Horner: “It’s incredibly unfortunate to come away from this weekend with zero points”

Team Principal Christian Horner bemoans that Verstappen has been forced to retire all all three of the Grand Prix in Italy this year. This was also only the third time this year the team has walked away from a race weekend with no points.

Horner said “We’ve had three races in Italy this year and three DNFs for Max so it’s not been kind to him. Max got a very good start, getting ahead of Lewis and it was a game of chess in the first stint being sandwiched between the two Mercedes cars, seeing who would pit first. It became apparent that Valtteri had damage and after the stops Max was right on him.

Max waited for his moment patiently and passed him on the main straight. He then pulled away from Valtteri and was on track for second place until his tyre let go, possibly due to some debris, which ended his race. It’s very frustrating, especially as today we felt we had pretty strong pace, so it’s annoying not to get second with Max. For Alex, it’s a difficult one because he was in a race with Charles and Daniel all afternoon, stuck in a bit of a train, and then at the re-start he tried to cover the cars behind who’d just had a free stop for new tyres under the safety car, and he lost it at the second chicane.

It’s incredibly unfortunate to come away from this weekend with zero points but we’ll build back up for Turkey, a track we had good success at last time out. Congratulations to Mercedes and Toto for achieving seven consecutive Constructors’ Championships, an amazing achievement and we certainly hope to be able to give them more of a challenge next year.”

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