Alex Completes Brilliant Fight-Back at the 1000th Grand Prix
Alexander Albon finished in 10th position at the Chinese Grand Prix, after a superb drive through the field from a pit-lane start in his Toro Rosso Honda. His performance earned him Driver of the Day at the 1000th Formula One Grand Prix.
Alex continued his impressive start to his Rookie season in F1 after another strong race performance at the Shanghai International Circuit.
After showing strong pace in the opening Free Practice Sessions, Alex was looking good and with serious potential to challenge at the front of the midfield pack as they prepared for Qualifying. Sadly in the closing stages of FP3, Alex suffered a big crash at the final corner with a few minutes of the session remaining, causing serious damage to his STR14. The damage meant he was forced to miss Qualifying and would have to start the 1000th Formula One Grand Prix from the pit-lane on Sunday.
At the start of the race, Alex immediately began to make up ground, moving up five positions in the opening laps after starting on the Soft compound tyres and making great use of them to continue to scythe his way through the pack and into point scoring contention.
The Thai driver showed fantastic pace, managing his tyres well whilst still maintaining pace to gain on his rivals in the hugely competitive midfield. The original plan was a two-stop strategy, however the choice was made to attempt the one-stop strategy following Alex's excellent first stint.
He pitted for the Hard compound tyres on Lap 19, where the new plan was to run the tyres until the end of the race.
Alex continued to make great progress, driving himself into the top-ten and in a points scoring position once the strategies had all been worked through.
Despite being put under serious pressure by the Haas of Romain Grosjean in the closing stages, Alex defended well and made no mistakes to cross the line in 10th position - claiming more championship points in his Rookie campaign.
Alexander Albon (Car 23):
"Firstly, I would like to say a big thank you to the team for their hard work yesterday. It was looking a bit dark after FP3, but the guys worked very hard last night to change the chassis, so they deserved a good race and I was happy to bring home a point to reward their effort.
We had the pace all weekend and I was confident we had a good shot at getting into Q3, although unfortunately we didn’t get the chance due to the repairs. It was a difficult race because we initially had planned a two-stop strategy, but the degradation was higher than most people expected.
Since we knew from FP2 we were good on our tyres, we decided to go for it and survive on the hard compound. I was a bit nervous at the end when Grosjean was almost catching me, but I’m really happy to have pulled that off!"
Alex's performance earned him the Formula One 'Driver of the Day' Award, underlining the strong showing he made to go from a pit-lane start, to a points scoring finish.
The next round of the Formula One World Championship will take place at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku, on the 26th - 28th of April.