Albon: Hamilton clash ruined chance of race win

Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s Alex Albon believes his late collision in the Austrian Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton squashed his chances of winning the opening round of the 2020 season.

From fourth on the grid, Albon gained a spot after a few laps to settle into third behind the dominant Mercedes formation.

But a good strategy call by the Red Bull squad during the second safety car period left the British-Thai racer with a fresh set of soft tyres behind the hard-shod Mercedes pair which had opted not to change to fresher rubber.

On the restart, with 20 laps to go, an incisive Albon barreled down on Hamilton at Turn 4 and attempted a move on the outside of the #44 Mercedes.

Albon held an edge but as Hamilton unwound his trajectory on exit of the corner, the two cars touched, with the Mercedes nudging the Red Bull into a spin and its driver out of contention.

    Bottas wins from Leclerc, Norris on the podium!

Hamilton was hit with 5-second time penalty but the sanction was no consolation for the frustrated Albon.

“I am a bit fresh right now so I have got to be careful with what I say,” said an unsettled Albon.

“I really felt like we could have won that race. Of course Mercedes had the outright pace today, but the guys did a great job with strategy.

“When I did the pitstop, I didn’t know where we were on track or what was going on. As soon as it all played out, it looked really strong for us.

“I knew basically that they [Mercedes] were on the hard tyres and the first five laps was when I was going to do the overtakes. I was confident and the car was feeling good in the last stage of the race.”

It was the second clash between the two drivers who came together at last years’ Brazilian Grand Prix. However, while Albon judged the Interlagos contact was a 50/50 racing incident, he felt he was in the clear on Sunday.

“I feel like this one, I wouldn’t say hurts more, but I felt like Brazil was a bit more 50/50,” he said.

“This one, I felt like I did the move already, and I was already focussing on Bottas. It was so late, the contact.

“I think there is always a risk of overtaking on the outside, but I gave it as much space as I really could.

“I was right on the edge and I knew as long as I gave all the space I could give to him it is up to him if he wants to crash or not.”

In addition to the 5-second time penalty that set him back to fourth in the final results, Hamilton was handed two penalty points on his licence by the stewards.

A two-time visitor to the stewards’ office at the Red Bull Ring this weekend, Hamilton chose to take the latest incident in his stride.

“It was a really unfortunate situation with Alex, I can’t believe we’ve come together again but it really felt like a racing incident,” said the Briton.

“Either way, I’ll take whatever penalty they feel I deserve and move forwards.”

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