We were safe despite loose wheel, says Albon

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Emilia Romagna, Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrariit

Williams driver Alexander Albon claims that his team did not act dangerously in the Imola F1 race despite having been released from his first stop with a loose wheel.

Chasing an undercut strategy in the 63-lap race, Alex Albon pitted early for a set of hards, but they weren’t fitted properly, and he had to come back in to the pits. That unsafe release earned him a ten-second time penalty, and also meant he lost the only set of hard tyres he had so had to swap to some used mediums. With two laps left in the race, the Thai driver retired.

"After the issues we faced with the wheel, we used the race as a bit of a test session to experiment with the brakes on long runs, playing around a bit in these conditions. I didn’t feel the issue coming out of the pits, it was only when I took the pit limiter off and felt the vibration that I could tell something was wrong.

"I knew the tyre wasn’t going to fall off as it was only going to a certain point and would stop so it was still safe, but I understand why I got the penalty. Whilst today is a little painful, it’s not all doom and gloom. We have a plan, and the midfield isn’t scoring a tremendous number of points, so we’re not falling away too much and can still catch up.

"At this point last year, we only had one point so were in a similar position. Whilst we don’t have as big of an upgrade coming and our focus is on taking the weight out of the car, we’ll still look to bring minor upgrades. We’ll take the learnings we can and move our focus to Monaco," said the Thai driver.


His team-mate Logan Sargeant had a similarly tough race, ending the first European round down in P17. The Florida-born driver complained about the difficulty of overtaking and the blue flags that compromised his race and his tyres.

"Today was a bit of a struggle. There’s very little overtaking here, you get stuck in DRS trains, there’s lots of dirty air which makes it hard to keep the tyres in a good place, and I had a lot of blue flags in the second stint, so it can kind of stack up.

"I think when you look at the windows we had in clean air, the performance was not bad relative to the people around us, so that was a positive. I don’t have too much to say about the race except I tried to keep my nose clean and get in the laps."