Red Bull’s Albon was just laps away from securing second place in Brazil, when a defense against Mercedes’ Hamilton sent him spinning and down the order to 14th. The stewards deemed Hamilton guilty which dropped him from third to seventh.
Albon, though, was not so quick to accuse Hamilton, despite his gutted feeling, which was amplified by the fact that he had such a good race until that point. The Thai racer made it clear that he was not at all angry with the Brit.
“It’s all right,” said Albon. “Of course he didn’t mean to do it. I’m not angry at Lewis. I feel like it’s one of them things. Of course I wanted the podium and I felt like we deserved it but that’s it really. I’m a bit upset. It’s racing. We’ll focus on Abu Dhabi.
“Thinking about the clash or reviewing it back, Turn 9, I saw him in my mirrors, I thought he wasn’t close enough to do the overtake so I didn’t defend it. I went in a little bit quick anyway just to try and cover it. I saw he kind of went for it.
“But it didn’t feel at the time like he committed completely. It’s one of them things when you go side by side like that at that angle, it’s completely blind, so you kind of give space, but you don’t know really where he is on it.
“You just have to turn in and you have to hope there is no one there. And we tagged, and that was kind of the incident. To be honest I thought if he wasn’t going to overtake me then he was going to overtake me into Turn 1. He had the pace.
“Of course I think he wanted to get past me quickly to get to Max at the end of the race, which I understand, of course.” Up until that point Albon had done an exceeding job which included a re-start pass on Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel at Turn 1 on the outside.
Hamilton, on the other hand, was less generous towards himself in the incident as he felt completely responsible. He didn’t even attend the post-race investigation meet as he passed on the message of taking blame for the clash.
“I took a lot of risk at the end and I apologise to Alex,” said Hamilton. “Obviously, I had no intention of coming together. It’s probably the first time I’ve come together with someone for a long, long time but I saw a door open and I kind of went for it.
“It closed very, very quickly. I went straight to him after the race to apologise. Nonetheless, I think it was a great race and it’s great again to see the youngsters coming and driving so well. I’m battling as hard as I can to stay in the mix.”
Even with the clash towards the end, Albon received huge compliments for his efforts from his boss. “I think it’s very visible for everybody to see,” said Horner. “He’s now racing wheel to wheel with Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel and Ferraris.
“He’s making great, great progress. It is a great shame. We could have had three Red Bull cars on the podium in Brazil. But as I say, Albon has impressed the whole team with his race craft and it was nothing short in Brazil as well.”
[Note: This story was written by me for Formula Rapida, and edited by Darshan Chokhani]