Alex Signs off Debut Season with P6 at Yas Marina
Alexander Albon rounded out his maiden season of Formula One with P6 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - ending 8th overall in the World Championship standings.
Alex headed into the final round of his first season at the pinnacle of motorsport at Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi.
After a promising trio of Free Practice sessions, setting the 4th, 6th and 4th fastest times - Alex qualified on the third row of the grid for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, starting from P5 for Sunday's race.
Alex made a good start and slotted in behind the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel - attempting a move on the 4-time World Champion on the run down to Turn 4.
Alex maintained position after the opening lap and stalked his rival ahead throughout the opening stint of the race.
The battle for sixth in the championship proved to be the closest fight. Heading into the race, Albon trailed McLaren’s Carlos Sainz and Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly by 11 points, and on the road Sainz trailed Alex by around five seconds at the 10-lap mark with DRS still unavailable for the drivers.
The Thai driver made his first pitstop on Lap 13 from P3 following the Ferrari's early pitstop. Alex switched onto the Medium compound tyre to run his one-stop strategy.
After a technical issue at the start of the race which left DRS unavailable for all drivers, it finally became available for the drivers on lap 19 and Albon immediately benefitted, hassling the Ferrari of Vettel in the battle for fifth place – the Thai-British driver realistically needing a fourth-place finish to have any chance of taking sixth in the driver’s championship from Sainz and Gasly.
Alex began to haul in Vettel infront -who pitted for a second time on Lap 38, which saw Alex elevated infront of the German.
The final few laps saw Vettel make use of his fresher tyres and challenge Alex for fifth. Vettel challenged Alex on the penultimate lap, which saw the Thai driver robustly defend his position, however the second DRS zone saw Alex powerless to defend from the straight-line speed of the Ferrari.
Alex crossed the line in P6 at the chequered, flag rounding off a very promising opening season in Formula One for the young Thai driver.
Alexander Albon (Car 23):
"The race didn't turn out quite how we wanted but we will have a look at it. We pitted early to try and undercut Seb but it didn't work and then we got stuck behind a train of traffic without DRS. That made for a long second stint and the tyres just didn't last until the end and Seb cleared a lot of cars quicker than we probably expected.
It's one of those things but looking back over the season I can be happy. I know there's some work to do and areas I have to improve but it's my rookie year so that's always going to be the case. I feel like the racing has been good, the pace still needs work, but that will come with experience.
We're testing next week so we'll continue the hard work and come back stronger next year. It's nice to spend the winter knowing where I'll be racing next year so I can focus on the job in hand. I'm really enjoying working with the Team so I can't wait for 2020."
Alex will be partaking in the end-of-season test with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, before settling into the winter break - preparing for his second season with the team in 2020.