Horner praises Albon after Driver Of The Day recovery from Turn 1 ‘pincer’
The sight of Alex Albon’s Red Bull careering sideways with all four wheels off the ground at Turn 1 was an alarming one - but somehow the Thai racer managed to recover to a brilliant P5 in the United States Grand Prix.
Albon found himself sandwiched between Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and McLaren's Carlos Sainz at Turn 1, with the resulting contact seeing him make a pit stop at the end of the opening tour.
He then came roaring back, his heroics earning him Driver Of The Day honours and the plaudits of Red Bull boss Christian Horner after what was a supremely measured drive.
“He’s done a great job today, Alex. He was unlucky at the first corner, he ended up on a pincer-move, his comeback on what turned out to be three-stop strategy for him today,” said Horner.
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Albon, who’s vying for a seat alongside US GP podium finisher Max Verstappen in 2020, had a rather unusual race compared to the rest of the field, with pit stops on laps 1, 20 and 40.
I was like ‘here we go, it’s going to be a long day’
“I think he passed Carlos Sainz about three times,” continued Horner.
“I think we counted something like 15, 16 overtakes today. It’s a strong recovery, I think you forget that he’s in his first year, even. We’ve been really encouraged with the development he’s been making – another positive day for him.”
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Albon didn’t apportion blame for being “sandwiched”, but explained that he had to continue the race with floor damage and some front-wing damage.
“We had a good start, obviously we were on the softer tyres, always helps. Coming into Turn 1, on the exit, I saw Charles on the inside, basically I tried to put myself as close to Charles as I could because I knew I was going to get better drive coming out of the corner.
“I was expecting Charles to go – the [Valtteri] Bottas line – out-and-in, he didn’t.
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“I think I got sandwiched. No one’s fault, really, one of those things, we took some front wing damage, some floor damage. I was like ‘here we go, it’s going to be a long day’.”
Albon managed to finish ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris and leapfrog the Briton's team mate Sainz in the standings, now sitting six and four points ahead of the McLaren driver with two races remaining.