Alexander Albon, Toro Rosso, Albert Park, 2019

Albon doubts points were possible on debut

2019 Australian Grand Prix

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Alexander Albon says the circumstances of his race strategy in his Formula 1 debut meant it was unlikely he had a chance to score points.

The Toro Rosso driver said he had a positive first event as an F1 driver, though his race went awry after he pitted.

“In the whole weekend, I’m happy,” said Albon. “The race didn’t go quite as we wanted it to but looking back at it I don’t think there’s anything we could have really done.

“I don’t think points were possible just with the strategy. It wasn’t a bad strategy, just unlucky with Giovinazzi. Norris, Perez and myself we spent four laps and we lost maybe three, four seconds a lap behind in those four laps. All the people that we were in front of got past us.

“Obviously this track’s not easy to overtake so I spent most of my race looking at an orange rear wing. Or a pink rear wing.

“But I’m happy with the final result. I think there’s a lot of good things to take into Bahrain.”

Albon, who only drove an F1 car for the first time in Toro Rosso’s filming day at Misano ahead of pre-season testing, says he is still learning the differences between F1 and F2.

“In Formula 2 you’re driving at 90% in a race to save the tyres, in Formula 1 it’s more like 95%. You can push a bit more.

“The thing is when you’re following cars it’s really bad for tyres. So battling is really difficult. You can’t spend more than two laps in a row, really, without overheating them. [I’m] just learning this.

“I think following cars is actually better than I expected and I think part of that was probably because of the new regulations. But it’s still not easy to overtake. I think Melbourne obviously isn’t the easiest example for this.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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6 comments on “Albon doubts points were possible on debut”

  1. Keith, OT but today we do have IndyCars at COTA ;)
    Felix Rosenqvist’s looking like the real deal, should be very interesting to see if the fans show up in large numbers.

  2. What I meant was are we going to have the ‘live’ feature to discuss the race?

      1. Excellent ! Thanks :)

  3. All the people that we were in front of got past us.

    My understanding from looking at the race position per lap chart is after lap 14, which looks like when he pitted, he was overtaken by one driver on the race track, which was Sergio Perez, who finished the race just ahead of Albon. However, it looks like Albon lost quite a few places when he pitted and never recovered from that. I don’t see being passed by drivers while in the pits as being the same as passed while on the race track. I guess that and the failure to score points is partly the fault of the person that decided his pit stop strategy.

    1. @drycrust

      I guess that and the failure to score points is partly the fault of the person that decided his pit stop strategy.

      I feel that the crucial ingredient for the Melbourne GP’s result is overlooked: Sauber’s [the rebranding hasn’t really caught on with me] decision not to pit Giovinazzi despite his rapid loss of grip (most likely to secure Räikkönen’s points finish) ruined lots of races. Of the drivers who dropped behind Giovinazzi due to early pit stops, only Magnussen, Hülkenberg and Räikkönen were quick and fortunate enough to overtake him without losing too much time. However, once Räikkönen had gone by, Giovinazzi started to act like a roadblock that cost Norris, Grosjean, Albon and Pérez – who had fresh tyres – over 10 seconds in just 6 laps compared to Stroll, Kvyat and Gasly, whose tyre were getting old.
      When Stroll, Kvyat and Gasly finally pitted, they had less than these 10 seconds to spare. So it’s relatively clear to see that Giovinazzi’s (non-)strategy single-handedly decided the race from P9 to P14. Without that factor, the early pit stops of Norris, Grosjean, Albon and Pérez would’ve enabled them to keep a much better track position after the final round of pit stops.

      Though it has to be said that Albon’s pace in clean air wasn’t too convincing, either. He lost so much time without traffic after Giovinazzi had finally pitted that it seems implausible to assume that he would’ve been able to defend a points-scoring position even if his strategy hadn’t been ruined.

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