Alex Denied Shot at Points in Late-Race Collision in Jeddah
Alex Albon just missed out on points in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, as late race contact denied him a chance of a top-10 result for Williams Racing.
Thai driver Alex Albon headed to Jeddah for Round 2 of the Formula One World Championship at the challenging Corniche Circuit.
Alex qualified in P17 for Sunday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. He pushed hard to reach Q2 for the second Grand Prix in succession, and despite improving, ultimately fell short by just over two tenths on a difficult day for the team.
It was a clean and relatively quiet start to the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, as Alex had engaged in a battle with Zhou Guanyu, but the Chinese driver would later be penalised for passing our Alex off track.
The Thai racer switched his medium compound tyres for hards on Lap 13, only for the race to be neutralised when his teammate Nicolas Latifi hit the wall on the exit of the final corner three laps later.
After an initial Virtual Safety Car period, a full Safety Car was deployed and remained on track until Lap 21.
Alex, now the sole remaining Williams in the Grand Prix, was right on the gearbox of Lance Stroll at the restart, but couldn’t get close enough to make a move.
After Zhou served a second penalty, Alex found himself in P16, where he stayed until drama further up the pack threw the race wide open on Lap 38.
Fernando Alonso, Daniel Ricciardo, and Valtteri Bottas all developed race-ending issues and a second VSC period neutralised the race with Alex in P11.
As the VSC came to an end, Lewis Hamilton had to make his mandatory pit stop after going long on his first stint – when he did on Lap 41, Alex was running P10 and in the points.
However, with both Lewis and Kevin Magnussen behind on fresh rubber, even the bravest of defences from our driver would not have been enough.
Back down to P12, Alex soon found himself back behind Stroll who was struggling and on Lap 48, our man looked to make a move up the inside of the first corner.
The pair collided, with Alex picking up a puncture to his front right tyre, forcing him to pull to the side of the road. Post-race, the stewards handed Alex a three-place grid penalty for the Australian Grand Prix.
Alex Albon, Williams Racing Driver #23:
”We were trying to fight our way into the points at the end and I went for the move with Lance.
He made a strong defence and unfortunately, we made contact. We had to retire due to the puncture, but the points were almost there, and we had to go for it."
“We were lacking downforce and the balance with the car can be tricky but when it’s in the window it’s actually a decent car.
At the end of the race we were pretty quick, it’s just about trying to make the car more consistent and predictable.”
Alex will aim to fight back at the Australian Grand Prix in two weeks time on the 8-10 April for Round 3 of the Formula One World Championship.