Albon says he won’t change his approach to racing Hamilton, despite last two on-track clashes
The 2020 Austrian Grand Prix witnessed the second race-ruining coming together between Red Bull’s Alex Albon and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in the last three Grands Prix. But despite the pair’s on-track magnetism – and the tendency for their encounters to end in disaster – Albon says he has no plans to change his approach to battling the six-time champion.
Hamilton and Albon first clashed at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix when Albon was running second with two laps of the race to go – while last weekend, Albon attempted to manoeuvre past the Mercedes driver around the outside of the Red Bull Ring's Turn 4 after the final Safety Car restart, leading to contact that dropped Albon down to last place.
But despite feeling that the crash cost him the chance of victory, when asked on Thursday ahead of the Styrian Grand Prix if he now planned to change how he raced Hamilton, Albon replied: “No, not at all. I think it's just bad circumstances that we've come together twice. But that's about it."
Albon also revealed he had not spoken to Hamilton since the incident. "We didn’t speak afterwards," he said. "To be honest there wasn’t too much really to say, I think, it is what it is. I’m sure Lewis didn’t intend to make contact.
“I do think we had a chance [to win],” Albon added. “The guys did an amazing job to find the opportunity to put us on the soft tyres and when we came out [of the pits], obviously the two Mercs were on cold tyres after a double Safety Car period, so it was looking good for us and I knew we had to do the overtakes early to get the chance to get to [eventual race winner Valtteri] Bottas. But I do think we could have done something special.”
Albon’s team mate Max Verstappen found himself watching the action on TV after his Lap 11 retirement from the Austrian Grand Prix – and the Dutchman praised Albon’s move, while passing comment on the five-second penalty Hamilton was awarded for the incident.
“I think Lewis didn't intend of course to hit Alex,” said Verstappen. “It's unfortunate that it happened. I think it was a great move of Alex to go around the outside there, I think not many people do that. But it was cool to see, even though I shouldn't have seen that, but I was chilling in my driver room already!
“I think it's quite normal to give that penalty,” Verstappen added. “We are told not to look at the consequence of [incidents] and that is the unfortunate part afterwards, because of course it ruined Alex's race.
“But for my side, [Lewis] got a penalty, he finished fourth, but Alex is still the one who got penalised the most by losing so many positions. You can talk about it for a very long time, but I think it's more important now to just look ahead, look forward to the weekend and both of us just want to score a good result.”
Both Red Bulls ended up retiring from the Austrian Grand Prix with similar – but according to power unit suppliers Honda – unrelated electrical issues. But the Japanese firm confirmed that they planned to bring a fix for this weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix, as Red Bull search for their first points of 2020.