RACE DEBRIEF

    Alex Albon wound up with an eye-catching mop of red hair after visiting an orphanage in Thailand ahead of the Australian Grand Prix. Scoring his first point of the season for Williams in Melbourne, he decided to stick with the change of look – and after narrowly missing out with P11 in Imola, it brought him luck once again in Miami, as he came home a brilliant ninth.

    The Miami track seemed to suit the FW44, Albon impressing in both FP1 and FP3 with his flying laps on the soft compound tyre. Given his abundance of single-lap pace, it was something of a surprise to see the Thai driver exit in Q1 in qualifying – with Albon calling his P18 placing on the grid an “anomaly”.

    “To be honest, qualifying was just the anomaly. Obviously, we understood the car all weekend, we just didn’t understand the car in qualifying, so we will look back at that and figure out what went wrong,” he said.

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    But whatever the cause of his lowly qualifying slot, Albon more than atoned on race day. After working his way up the order from P18, he was running P12 when Sebastian Vettel and Mick Schumacher collided, promoting him into the points come the chequered flag.

    “I'm very happy. I think we showed our pace all weekend,” said Albon. “We had a tough quali and we were out of position. We had a quick car this weekend.

    “We had a little bit of fortune with some of the cars ahead of us getting caught up in incidents, but the important thing is that we were in a position to make the most of those opportunities when they came... We’ll celebrate this one!” he said afterwards. There was even better news to follow at the flag too, as his P10 became ninth thanks to a post-race penalty for Fernando Alonso, meaning an extra hard-won point was added to his tally.

    “Points from P18 feels reaaaalllly good,” Albon wrote later on Twitter. “I guess the red hair is here to stay.”

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    But while Albon was scoring his second points of the season, it was a harder race for team mate Nicholas Latifi. The Canadian opted to start on the hard compound tyre but had already pitted by the time the Safety Car came out, so wasn’t able to take advantage of a free stop as many of his rivals did, eventually coming home P14.

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    Albon's been able to find plenty of pace in the FW44 at the last few races

    Describing the race as a “tough afternoon”, Latifi admitted that a host of issues prevented him from being competitive.

    “I think we were probably a bit tight on fuel, so I was having to do a lot of lift and coast – like a lot,” he said. “It was difficult and we were having to manage some issues early on which were holding us back, including struggling with the tyres and lacking pace and we need to investigate those.”

    HIGHLIGHTS: Relive the action from an enthralling first ever Miami Grand Prix