Albon admits Sainz move 'a bit optimistic' after eventful Italian GP
As Alex Albon kicked up the gravel on the exit of Curva Grande, it was clear that the Italian Grand Prix was not going the way of Red Bull. The Thai-British driver admitted that the move was “risky” as he unpacked a mixed Grand Prix at Monza, where he ended up in sixth place with the Renault pair ahead.
In his second race at Red Bull, Albon was left to start eighth after the bizarre end to qualifying. Ahead were both Renaults and McLaren's Carlos Sainz, and all three proved very tough opposition on the long straights of Monza – where the Red Bulls aren’t so formidable.
So on Lap 3, when Albon was right on the rear wing of Carlos Sainz, he decided to make his move through the Della Roggia chicane, ending up right alongside the McLaren as the two barrelled into the entry of the first Lesmo right-hander. That was where it went wrong for Albon.
“Yeah, it was a bit… sketchy,” he explained. “I was quite happy with the move into Turn 4, that bit was good! He got the run on me, which [is] fair play, I had to go a bit deep to do that move.”
The Red Bull driver admitted that it wasn’t the plan to end up on the outside of the first Lesmo, but it was a case of needs-must due to the Red Bull's relative lack of top speed.
I was quite surprised he went for it
“I know it was a bit risky. Maybe. But the problem for us is that we weren’t great on the straight so a lot of our moves had to be done deep into the brakes or into the corners. That was our whole race. Maybe it was a bit optimistic, but we’re talking fine margins. If I had that much more space I would’ve stayed on the track,” he said.
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Albon took a short trip through the gravel on the outside of the corner, dropping back to P12, and it led Sainz, who was trying to rescue the rear of his own car, to apologise.
“He went really deep into Turn 4, very late braking with that Red Bull like always we see from Max [Verstappen] and everyone who drives that car. I was quite surprised he went for it. Then I managed to get the run to the inside of Turn 6. I had a bit of a nudge from the rear and I think it was just enough to get him a bit out of line, which I apologised [for] over the radio.
“It was hard racing and I honestly lost the car a bit, there was nothing I could’ve done differently,” he said.
The incident was noted by the stewards, but neither driver was reprimanded. Sainz hasn’t stayed out of trouble completely this weekend, of course, having been reprimanded after a chaotic final qualifying session – while McLaren received a €5,000 fine for an unsafe release that caused Sainz to retire from the race.
Albon’s difficulties didn’t end there, meanwhile, as he took a five-second penalty for leaving the track and gaining a lasting advantage while battling with Kevin Magnussen. That left Albon to finish a decent P6 – and the next race could yield even better results.
“Singapore’s next, a few more corners so it should be good,” said Albon. “I’m quite happy with [my start at Red Bull], there’s more to come, more to learn, but otherwise it’s a good start and hopefully I can pick it up towards the end of the season.”
Albon now sits ninth in the drivers’ standings, one point ahead of former team mate Daniil Kvyat, and equal with fourth-place finisher in Monza Daniel Ricciardo.