Alex Denied After Opening Lap Failure in Soaking Suzuka
Alex Albon was denied a shot at the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka, following a technical issues on the opening lap of the race which caused him to retire from the race.
Suzuka returned to the calendar for the first time in three years, a track famously popular with the drivers and with sell out Japanese fans filling the stands.
It has been a damp start to proceedings as the weather for Friday’s two practice sessions didn’t allow Pirelli’s planned 2023 tyre test.
Heavy rain before Free Practice 1 eased midway through the session before ramping up once again in the closing stages, resulting in minimal running up and down the paddock.
The weather was much kinder on Saturday ready for Qualifying, as Alex hit the track on slick tyres.
After the first push lap from Alex in Qualifying, he sat P14 with an aim on a position in Q2. Sadly Alex would later have his time deleted for a track limits violation, putting it all on to his final run.
Alex put in the best lap he could - ultimately narrowly missing out by just 0.055s, putting his FW44 in P16 on the grid for the Japanese Grand Prix.
As had threatened all weekend, rain fell before racing got underway, but unlike last week in Singapore, the Japanese Grand Prix got started on time.
Sadly for Alex, his race would not last the length of the first lap as, despite a blistering start, he suffered a damaged radiator and subsequently lost water pressure after slight contact with Kevin Magnussen in a chaotic opening tour of Suzuka.
Alex's race was over, but he stayed to watch his Williams Racing teammate, Nicholas Latifi execute a great strategy by the team to score a P9 finish and secure 2 points for the team under very challenging circumstances in the wet conditions.
Alex Albon, Williams Racing Driver #23:
"It’s definitely a shame as I felt like today was a chance to maybe score some points."
"I actually had a very good start and was really pleased with it but then with the visibility being so poor, I couldn’t see the car next to me; I couldn’t even see the track."
“I had a light touch with Kevin [Magnussen] but where we hit it touched the radiator, we lost water pressure and it was leaking, so we had to stop the car.
It was extremely dangerous out there and so bad in terms of visibility, in fact, it’s the worst I’ve ever experienced in my career so far."
Alex will aim to bounce back from the wash-outs of Suzuka and Singapore at the United States Grand Prix in two weeks time, on the 21-23 October.