Solid Sixth at Singapore for Alex on Marina Bay Debut
Alex Albon added a good haul of points for Aston Martin Red Bull Racing at the Singapore Grand Prix, where he made his debut in the intense heat of the Lion City and Marina Bay Circuit.
Thai Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Formula One Driver Alex Albon qualified in 6th position for the Singapore Grand Prix, preparing himself for the longest and most difficult race of his rookie season so far.
A sea of Thai support adorned the track for Alex, in what is the closest to a home-race he will have this season.
At the race start, the top six got away in grid order with pole sitter Leclerc leading from Hamilton, Vettel and fourth-placed Max Verstappen. Valtteri Bottas was fifth in the second Mercedes, with Alex in sixth.
The first stint then became a game of tyre management as the leaders preserved their starting Soft tyres, in order to go deep enough into the race to clear the midfield should they pit.
Alex shadowed the Mercedes of Bottas for the entire first stint, as everyone waited for a driver to 'pull the pin' on strategy.
Vettel was the first to make the move, with the German pitting on lap 19. Alex also made his tyre change on lap 20, followed by Bottas on lap 22, but was just unable to undercut the Mercedes driver and gain a position.
Bottas then proceeded to back up Alex in order for his teammate Hamilton to slot infront, meaning Alex was stuck in 6th position despite arguably having a strong pace.
The race was neutralised on lap 35 when Haas’ Romain Grosjean went for an ambitious overtake of Williams’ George Russell into turn 8 and ended up pitching the young Briton into the wall. Singapore’s 100% safety car record was thus maintained and the gaps at the front closed up.
The safety car left the track at the end of lap 40 and when racing resumed, Vettel held his lead ahead of an unchanged top 10. The green flags lasted just three laps, however. On lap 44, Sergio Pérez was told to stop his car and the Racing Point driver pulled over at the side of the track, leading to a second safety car deployment.
Despite the closing of the pack, an opportunity never really fell for Alex, as he took P6 for the second race in a row to give the Team a 23-point haul from the season’s toughest race.
Alexander Albon (Car 23):
“Most of that race was just managing my tyres so it was physically easier than I expected. It was only in the last 20 laps when I was really pushing it that I could feel the strain. So, I would call it a battle of management as I started P6 and finished P6. At times it felt more like a procession than a race for me.
It was also a bit frustrating as I spent the whole race stuck behind a Mercedes. As I couldn’t overtake on the track I hoped that a pit stop would move me up the field but unfortunately that didn’t happen and then the safety car came out a few times. In the middle stint I wanted to get past Valtteri but I didn’t have the pace to overtake the Mercedes. I spent the whole race staring at a silver rear wing which wasn’t that fun.
When he pushed I pushed and when he saved his tyres I saved mine so I felt like I was just going backwards and forwards and it almost felt like he backed me up so Lewis could get ahead. All in all for my first time here it was a positive race.
My pace was a lot better so I’m definitely making progress. Even during the race I was finding little tricks to improve my speed. I was amazed by how many Thai flags were out there in the crowd so it was great to be racing here.”
The next round of the Formula One World Championship will visit the Sochi Autodrom in Russia on the 27-29 September.