Alex Albon has placed the blame for his collision with Lewis Hamilton firmly at his rival’s door, and said he felt he was in prime position to win today’s Austrian Grand Prix.
The race restarted on lap 61 after back-to-back safety cars, with Albon in third place behind the two Mercedes drivers and on faster tyres – new softs compared the worn hard rubber on the Black Arrows.
He attacked the second-placed Hamilton immediately from the restart, and looked to have completed the move around the outside of turn four before contacted between his rear right and Hamilton’s front left tyres sent him spinning into the gravel.
“The contact with Lewis was so late in the corner that it surprised me. I was right on the edge of the track and I knew if I gave him all the space I could it would be up to him if he wants to crash or not.” said Albon.
“This time I was the one on the attack and he was defending. I wouldn’t say this one hurts more than Brazil but that incident was maybe 50/50 whereas this one isn’t.”
Hamilton was given a five-second time penalty by the stewards that eventually dropped him off the podium, as Lando Norris set a fastest lap on the final lap of the race to take third position by 0.2s.
The consensus seemed to be blaming the six-time world champion for the collision, and it looked as if he did understeer through the corner that forced him into Albon.
This isn’t the first time the pair have collided; at Interlagos last year Albon was running third on the penultimate lap and looked to be on for his maiden podium in Formula One, a chance that was ended by Hamilton who crashed into him at Bico do Pato.
The Mercedes attempted a move up the inside of the corner but misjudged it and sent Albon into a spin, dropping him down to 15th. Hamilton accepted full responsibility for that incident and was given a five-second time penalty post-race, although that will have been scant consolation to the Thai.
This time he reacted angrily calling Hamilton a ‘sore loser’ over team radio, and while even after cooling off after the race still felt he was robbed of a first race win.
He added: “I really think we could have easily won that race, I feel like I had completed the move on Lewis already, and I was thinking about getting Bottas on the next lap.
“We had a great strategy, the guys did a great job in the pit stops, yes we had a little bit of fortune with the Safety Car, but the car was feeling good.
“The hard tyre wasn’t very strong today and I knew the Mercedes would have cold tyres on the re-start, so I already planned to get past them within a few laps of the Safety Car coming in.”