United States Grand Prix – Alex Albon was left kicking himself after his last Q3 run ended up in him having his laptime deleted for exceeding track limits.
Alex Albon will start Sunday’s race at the Circuit of the Americas from P6, having had his last qualifying run deleted. The Red Bull driver had been on for a personal best lap on his second qualifying run in Q3, but put all four wheels over the painted lines in the third sector. As has happened on plenty of occasions for plenty of drivers throughout this weekend, his laptime was deleted. This meant that his qualifying time was decided on his first run in Q3 – a 1:32.548 and half a second from the front.
Albon is the only driver from the expected top six drivers, ie. the Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull drivers, to start the race on the Soft tyre as Red Bull split their strategies by putting Verstappen on the Mediums.
Despite qualifying not going all that well for Albon, he smiled afterwards as he felt he had proven his pace with his second run up until the error: “In the end I’m quite happy and I think we did a good job in qualifying had it not been for my mistake on the last lap. FP1 was pretty good but I struggled in FP2 and FP3 which were two difficult sessions. I found the rhythm again in qualifying and I was three tenths up on my final Q3 run before I ran wide and got my time deleted.”
“I think as drivers we prefer circuits that don’t allow you to break track limits because if there’s something there to stop you, it will.” Albon complained. “It was my last lap in Q3 where you’re always pushing for an extra couple of hundredths and it was one of those things. I think I was on for a 1:32.2 which isn’t the same pace as the guys ahead but I was more or less there. We’re the first to start on the soft tyre tomorrow so hopefully it gives us a launch advantage and we can overtake a couple of cars into Turn 1.”
“We just need to avoid the carnage and then hopefully we’re in the fight. I think our race pace is always pretty good and let’s see what the weather does tomorrow. If it’s warmer than today, my tyres will degrade quicker but then the others will have to two stop, so let’s see what happens!”