Alex Leads Toro Rosso on Formula 1 Qualifying Debut
Alexander Albon will start 13th on the grid for his Formula One debut at the Australian Grand Prix tomorrow, setting a 1:22.636s lap time in today's qualifying session.
The Thai driver, taking part in his maiden F1 weekend - completed 61 laps during Friday's Free Practice Sessions to acclimatise himself to the new circuit. Despite a spin in the FP1 session, Alex was on the pace throughout and relative to his teammate Danil Kvyat.
Saturday morning saw Alex complete a further 15 laps in FP3 in the warm-up to Qualifying in the afternoon.
Alex advanced through the first stage of the session, putting in a strong lap in the end of Q1 on the 'soft' Pirelli compound tyres. He continued his strong run into Q2, putting in a lap time strong enough for 13th on the grid. His fastest time was just a tenth of a second from advancing into Q3 and the top-ten shootout for pole position.
Alex's impressive performance on debut, saw him out-qualified his teammate Danil Kvyat, making him the lead Toro Rosso driver on the grid ahead of his Grand Prix debut at Albert Park tomorrow.
Alexander Albon (Car 23):
"I’m still getting used to the timetable of an F1 weekend as well as to the car and the track. This circuit isn’t easy, but I think our pace looks good so far and I’m slowly building up confidence.
I took it a bit easier after the spin in FP1 and once I got back up to speed we went on with the programme, trying a few more things on the car.
My Qualifying started off okay. I did my first lap and when I got told of the lap times I saw how quick it is around here. I hooked it up on the second of the Q1 laps and fell into the rhythm – it took me all the way until Qualifying to get there, but once you get the feel you gain confidence, because the grip is there as the track evolution is huge.
I’m a bit gutted to miss out on Q3, we knew it was going to be close in winter testing, but it’s so tight in the midfield that you can’t afford to make any mistake!
I’m happy with the lap I did, but on the other side a tenth or a tenth and a half quicker and I would have been in Q3!
This track isn’t easy for overtaking, but maybe the new regulations will come into play and give us a chance to move up the field.
Our long runs look pretty good – we’re close to the points so that’s the goal for tomorrow. I’ll be a bit nervous and I’m not sure if I’ll sleep too well tonight!
I’m really looking forward to my first race in F1 and I’ll try to keep my nose clean and bring home a good result."
Tomorrow's Australian Grand Prix will start tomorrow at 16:10 (GMT +11) where Alex will make his Formula One debut for Toro Rosso, with the race broadcasted live on Sky Sports F1.