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Ricciardo and Albon give their views on first-lap clash at Suzuka as stewards opt against further action

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SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 07: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Visa Cash App RB walks away from his

Daniel Ricciardo and Alex Albon have offered up reactions to their clash on the opening lap of the Japanese Grand Prix, with the RB and Williams drivers both retiring after banging wheels and slamming into the wall.

Ricciardo, who started on medium tyres, came under attack from a clutch of soft-shod drivers through Turns 1 and 2, with Albon getting a run on him around the outside as they approached Turn 3.

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However, as Ricciardo drifted across the track, with Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin on the inside of him, the RB made contact with the Williams and sent the pair of them sliding onto the grass and into the tyre-lined barriers at the exit.

After making their way back to the paddock, Ricciardo and Albon explained what happened from their perspectives, with the Australian feeling it was a classic case of the field getting “choked up” in the bottleneck.

2024 Japanese Grand Prix: Ride onboard with Ricciardo and Albon for their Lap 1 crash at Suzuka

While stewards looked into the incident, they ultimately decided against taking any further action.

“Everyone who started on the softs… well, at least the cars in front on the medium looked to fare okay, but myself and Yuki [Tsunoda] had a pretty poor getaway on the medium and all the cars behind on the soft just got us quite easily,” Ricciardo said.

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“We were just kind of scrambling obviously for some grip. By Turn 2 it had settled a little bit, but then I remember getting out of 2 still with a little bit of lack of traction and I remember an Aston on my left, so I was kind of watching that car.

“Then, as I was starting to drift to open up 3, I felt Alex. I saw his onboard and he just had so much better drive out of 2. I don’t even know if he wanted to be there, but he could see me kind of going a little bit sideways.”

2024 Japanese Grand Prix: Ricciardo and Albon crash on Lap 1 to bring out the red flags at Suzuka

Offering his side of the story, Albon commented: “I think I had not a great start, but obviously a bit better than the medium tyre [drivers]. I had good traction coming out of Turn 2 and that was it really.

“I don’t think Daniel saw me and then it was just a bit of a pinching moment. I tried to back out of it but couldn’t quite get out of the way quickly enough. It was a tough one to take. Obviously we’re not in a great position as a team with parts and just general damage for the cars.”

READ MORE: Verstappen overjoyed by victory comeback at Suzuka as he says race ‘couldn’t have been better’

Pushed on how much damage there is to his car, after Williams’ spate of recent crashes, Albon added: “Honestly it wasn’t like a big crash, but the way that I hit the wall… it was a tyre wall, and we don’t have that many tyre walls anymore in F1.

“The way the tyre went under the car and it ripped the car, so the car went from a good amount of speed to zero very quickly, I’m just worried. I didn’t get a good look at it because it’s under the tyres, but hopefully it’s okay.”

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