Stroll "fireball" distracted Albon in Bahrain start

Alex Albon says driving through a shower of sparks felt like "a fireball" at the start of the Bahrain Grand Prix, in which he scored his first Formula 1 points.

Stroll "fireball" distracted Albon in Bahrain start

The Toro Rosso rookie benefitted from Renault's late double-retirement to finish ninth and bag two points on only his second F1 start.

His race had started being boxed in at the first corner, and he was following Lance Stroll out of the first sequence of turns when the Racing Point produced a huge trail of sparks after picking up damage from contact with Romain Grosjean.

"I was a bit too safe around me [at the start], there were some people braking earlier, and I kind of reacted to it and braked with them," said Albon.

"So Turn 1 I was too safe and then the exit of Turn 3 it was like a fireball coming into my face and it kind of distracted me.

"I was caught out and then he braked and I was like, 'Has he got damage, what's going on?'."

Albon said he needed to take evasive action because the sparks were not just a visual distraction.

"It was really hot," he said. "You could feel the heat.

"It did not worry me, but it was a new experience. I thought 'whoa, I need to get out of this'.

"I actually lost a position I think, because I was avoiding him, trying to avoid all the 'flames'."

Once clear of Stroll's broken Racing Point, Albon had a race in which he "felt like every stint we were fighting with someone".

He went wheel-to-wheel with the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen and passed his Toro Rosso team-mate Daniil Kvyat and the Haas of Kevin Magnussen, which meant he was well-placed to profit from Renault's quick-fire retirements.

"I think there was more in it," Albon reckoned. "It's a bit of shame with the start, because I think if I had a bit of clean air, we could have done a lot better.

"But I am happy with performance. First thing I need is to qualify a bit better, get into Q3, because I think we deserve or we can do that."

Albon said he enjoyed the grand prix as he had not been able to battle with other cars properly in the season opener in Australia.

He also admitted that he did not have much of an idea of what he was fighting for because the race was so hectic.

"I am surprised, you do your race, but everyone is pitting, or exiting the pits, and you don't know who you're fighting really," Albon said.

"It seems like you just finished the race [and the team tells you, 'You're P9' – 'oh…OK'."

shares
comments
Will anyone actually be happy with F1 2021?

Previous article

Will anyone actually be happy with F1 2021?

Next article

Grosjean sets early pace as rain disrupts Bahrain F1 test

Grosjean sets early pace as rain disrupts Bahrain F1 test
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Bahrain GP
Teams AlphaTauri
Author Scott Mitchell
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace Prime

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace

Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one major encouraging sign for Red Bull. However, making good on that gain will require Max Verstappen to avoid repeating a mistake that left him well down the FP2 order...

Formula 1
May 7, 2021
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

Formula 1
May 6, 2021
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Prime

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warm-up. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory Prime

The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy Prime

The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy

Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying.

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion Prime

How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion

As a highly-rated Mercedes junior, George Russell is naturally billed as Lewis Hamilton's heir apparent where Britain's next Formula 1 champion is concerned. But he may face competition for that accolade from Lando Norris, fresh from a confidence-boosting run to third at Imola whose rise is being accelerated by his McLaren team’s revival

Formula 1
Apr 29, 2021