Race report: P11 for Alex in Saudi
A hard fought battle in Jeddah
Published
09 Mar 2024
Est Reading Time
3 min
The 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is officially complete, with Alex racing to within grasping distance of points.
It was a day of what could have been for Albono, who started on the grid in P12.
As the lights went out in Jeddah, a tight start saw our Thai racer slip back to P13 as Magnussen took advantage in the opening stages.
Sitting at the back of a four-car DRS train, this battle was short lived, as the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll hit the wall to bring out a full safety car on lap 7 of the race.
Albono was one of 13 racers to take advantage of the cheap pit stop under the safety car, as he boxed to swap out mediums for hards that would last the rest of the race.
The green flag meant racing got back underway, with Albono in P14 and the pack very close together. Approaching Turn 3, Alex went wheel-to-wheel with the Haas of Kevin Magnussen and was subsequently squeezed off the track, resulting in contact and some minor damage.
This allowed Ocon to also make a move, causing Alex to move back to P15 in the process. The incident was reviewed by the stewards and Magnussen was handed a 10-second penalty for his involvement.
It was a frustrating way to start the race for Alex, as there’s no doubt if he had gone past the Haas with no issues, he would have been right in the mix for points.
Instead, he was left with a battle on his hands. Chasing down Ocon for the best part of 20 laps, eventually the Alpine driver made a move of his own and Albono set his sights on Yuki Tsunoda instead.
Glued to the back of the RB, Alex kept pushing to make a move for four laps. Finally on lap 34 we saw our Thai racer pull off a daring move, as he lunged into Turn 1 to move up the grid into P14.
With Zhou Guanyu boxing late and dropping to the back of the pack, Alex moved up to P13 and it was time to chase down Ocon again. Albono set his sights on the french driver and fought his way to within DRS territory.
On lap 45 Alex looked to repeat his earlier move and did so to success, going past Ocon at Turn 1 to move into P12.
Albono battled hard for the five remaining laps, however the Haas of Magnussen was just too far ahead to catch in the closing stages.
As Alex took the checquered flag, two 10-second penalties for Magnussen meant our Thai driver ended the day in P11, just one place out from the points.
It was so, so close for Alex, who fought hard across the 50 laps of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
On another day things could have ended very differently, however now it will be time to regroup and turn the attention to round three.
Time for Albono to head down under…
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