Russian Grand Prix – Alex Albon says he’s hopeful of a few more ‘boring’ races after having to fight back from a pitlane start at the Sochi Autodrom.
Alex Albon finished in P5 in Sunday’s race at the Sochi Autodrom in Russia, having started from the pitlane. The Red Bull driver was eliminated in the first part of qualifying on Saturday when, pushing on a flying lap, he lost the rear of his RB15 going through Turn 13 and crashed backwards into the barriers.
As a result of the impact, Red Bull opted to change his gearbox as a precaution, as well as fitting him with a new floor and a change of turbocharger, MGU-H and MGU-K. This resulted in him starting from the pitlane. He didn’t take a fresh power unit, having been fitted with a fresh Honda Spec 4 for Friday, already triggering a grid penalty heading into the weekend.
Starting on the Medium tyres, Albon ran a long opening stint to get to Lap 29 before making a pitstop. He then ran a 24 lap stint on the Softs to get to the chequered flag and finished in P5.
Along the way, he enjoyed some great battles, notably one with his seat’s previous incumbent Pierre Gasly – the pair were side by side through the long and fast Turn 3 before Albon forced the issue into Turn 5. He also had great tussles with both McLaren drivers – Lando Norris going off track and losing out to Sergio Perez at the same time as Albon squeezed past.
“It was a good race and I think P5 is the best we could have done.” beamed Albon afterwards. “I wanted to bounce back and get a good result after yesterday’s crash so I’m really happy with how the race went, although we probably got a bit lucky with the Safety Car. Morale was obviously a little bit low on Saturday night and it was a lot of work for the Team so this result is for them. Starting from the pit lane was never going to be easy but the pace was quite strong on the softs and it was a good haul of points.”
“I started out of position and had some fun coming back through the field, but I don’t want all of my races to be like that. I like boring races too so I’m hoping for a cleaner and smoother weekend in Japan. In the first stint I was struggling to get past Daniil and Pierre and it took me a long time. The downforce loss is immense when you’re following in a train of cars which I think is because the track is designed a bit like a street circuit.”
“Up to the race it had been a tough weekend but I’m getting more comfortable. I just need to get up to speed and in a rhythm earlier on in the weekend, but that will come with more laps and time in the car. With the exception of Abu Dhabi, all of the remaining tracks will be new for me so Suzuka will be difficult, but I like new tracks.“