Alex Performs Brilliant Race Day Recovery at Hungary
Alexander Albon put in a strong recovery in the Hungarian Grand Prix following a very difficult qualifying session - crossing the line in P5 after battling hard in mixed conditions.
More mixed conditions greeted everyone at the Hungarian Grand Prix, which affected the running in the opening Free Practice sessions on Friday. This meant the team were struggling to dial in the RB16 around the tight and twisty nature of the Hungaroring.
A tough qualifying session followed, with Alex being knocked out of the session at the end of Q2 after struggling with the car balance The Thai driver lined up for the Grand Prix starting from P13 on the grid.
However this meant he had a free choice of tyres for the race.
Sadly this advantage was negated due to a wet start to the race, meaning all drivers started on the Intermediate tyres. Alex despite this carefully negotiated the opening laps before picking up positions - just before the pit window opened early on, following the two Haas drivers gambling to start on Slick tyres and showing strong pace.
Following the early pitstops, Alex had muscled his way through from P13 on the grid to P9 behind Vettel. Alex was there to strike when the German locked up at turn 12 and drifted wide, Alex breezed past to take P8.
He then closed up onto his Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc, as the two began a tough tussle for seventh place, with Vettel soon joining the contest.
Alex made a couple of moves that were sternly rebuffed by Leclerc, but at the end of lap 17 he made a better exit out of the final corner and got close enough to launch a brave move down the inside into turn one. Leclerc moved to resist but Alex was already alongside and out of the corner he drew away from the Ferrari and settled into P7.
A longer middle stint was planned to give Alex the best possible chance of coming through the field in the final stages of the race.
As the strategy played out, Vettel had risen to P5 after his early second stop but Alex was closing in and lapping quicker than the Ferrari.
With five laps remaining, Alex found himself 1.1s behind Vettel, but the Thai driver claimed P5 when Vettel ran wide into turn two on the following lap.
Alex held the position to the finish, coming home a superb fifth after recovering well following his P13 starting position on the grid.
Alexander Albon (Car 23):
“It was a good race and I had a lot of fun with my elbows out. If you had told me we’d be P5 after yesterday I would have jumped at it. Today was never going to be easy starting from P13 but we had a good start and we made our way through the field. It’s not easy to overtake at this circuit so we had to do some big moves to get past people. Every move you do is always on the limit here but it worked out for us and I enjoy the battles as it’s nice to put on a show. When we fight we tend to come out on top and the car is good on the brakes so it’s nice to make these moves."
"We lost quite a lot of time in traffic today behind the Ferraris otherwise I think we would have been closer but the car was really good and when we were in clean air we were fast and very competitive. I’m happy with the result and it’s good points for the Team after such a tricky day yesterday so I think we have to be thankful.
Today is a bit of a surprise as to why our race pace is so much better than our quali pace, so we need to understand that, but it’s positive and means some things on the car are working.”
Following a triple-header of races to start the 2020 season, Alex will be back in action two-weeks from now at Silverstone, for the British Grand Prix on the 31 July - 2 August.