Alex Battles to Sixth at the Italian Grand Prix
Alex Albon battled his way to 6th position in a combative Italian Grand Prix at Monza, overcoming an off-track moment on Lap 2 and a penalty to score valuable points for Aston Martin Red Bull Racing.
Thai Formula One Driver Alex Albon took part in one of the most chaotic and controversial Qualifying sessions in recent memory, as a red flag prevented him from completing his first flying lap, before some bizarre shenanigans where all the driver's were battling on the out-lap for a slipsteam, saw seven drivers - including Alex get timed out before they could start their final lap.
Alex therefore started in 8th position for the Italian Grand Prix. After getting boxed in at the Retifilio Chicane and dropping to 10th, he immediately set about regaining lost ground early on. Alex was soon climbing the order but he again hit trouble on lap three. He passed eighth-placed Carlos Sainz into the Variante Roggia, but the Spaniard fought back and Alex was forced off track at the next corner. The clash dropped him back to 11th position and some floor damage due to the trip through the gravel trap.
He was soon elevated to 7th position, following a few on-track overtakes soon followed by a collision between Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll at the exit of the Ascari Chicane on Lap 7.
Alex made his one-stop strategy work by pitting on Lap 26, swapping the Soft compound Pirelli tyres for the Medium compound to last to end of the race. Alex rejoined in 12th position, following a 5-second time penalty in the pits after he was judged to have overtaking the Haas of Kevin Magnussen off the circuit.
Alex however was soon back up to 8th position as the pit window took effect.
After moving into 7th position following the retirement of Carlos Sainz after his pitstop, Alex was hunting down the Renault pair of Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg for 4th and 5th position. He was gaining ground on Hulkenberg and with 15 laps to go he had cut an 11-second deficit to the Renault to just 7-seconds.
The Thai driver got into DRS range of the Renault, however even with the effect from the 'tow' , could not find a way past the German for 5th position, as he crossed the line in 6th position - just 1.1s behind his rival.
Alexander Albon (Car 23):
“There were positives for me even though the race didn’t go as planned. It isn’t the easiest track for us and we had quite an unlucky weekend in the qualifying. I didn’t have a great start and had to fight my way back though the field.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have the pace on the straights to overtake so I had to do my manoeuvres on the corners. That resulted in a lot of side by side action and at one point I just lost a bit too much grip going that wide so it started to get messy. I had a few offs and took a five second penalty.
However, my race pace is getting better with the car and I feel I have made a good step up from Spa so personally speaking I am happy.
Hopefully Singapore will be better for me as there will be more downforce and more corners. I think there is a lot more to come and I’m feeling more competitive.”
The next round of the Formula One World Championship takes place at the Singapore night race on the 20-22 September. Alex and the team will have high expectations, with the circuit expected to favour the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing RB15 car.