Red Bull Racing’s Alexander Albon says McLaren’s Lando Norris left the door open in the final corner for him to make the overtake move in F1 Japanese GP.
Albon may have finished a career best fourth in F1 Japanese GP at Suzuka, but it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Thai rookie, especially after he tangled in the final chicane with Norris, in an attempted overtake on the Mclaren driver.
Albon made a late dive into the right-hander, feeling that Norris left the door open before he found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, winding up out-braking himself and clashing with the Brit, ultimately sending him wide on the astro-turf.
Norris had to dive into the pits for a tyre change, but he went with extra damage after the Albon hit. “The start was really where we lost it, I lost two positions to the McLaren’s and then from there on, it was just about getting those positions back.
“We got past Lando, which was a little bit sketchy,” Albon admitted, “but we threw our elbows out and then, Carlos, we got him with the undercut. When you do those moves you hope the other guy sees you basically. Lando gave me space, the move was on.
“He left the door open and then I was like ‘oh he’s turning in’ here, so we banged wheels but got away with it.” The move was investigated but the stewards ruled it as hard racing, which both the drivers took it to their chin as well.
Norris made a solid start to the race but the incident between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen set him back. He even got a part of Leclerc’s debris stuck in his brakes which forced him into an early stop – thereby ruining his race before the Albon hit.
“I had a really good start, much better than all of the guys ahead,” said Norris. “I went to the outside and managed to get ahead of Carlos and Hamilton briefly, but then there was contact between Verstappen and Leclerc, for which I had to slow down and avoid.
“This helped Sainz and Hamilton to come back past me. I got unfortunate with some debris which got stuck in the brakes, which meant I had to box early on and then I was out of sequence and did not have enough tyres to get past as many drivers as I wanted to.
“I then made a mistake for which I had to box. I did not see Albon alongside me but he was quicker anyway. He eventually finished 13th place when the chequered flag dropped on Lap 52, with teammate Sainz finishing an impressive fifth.
Here’s how the F1 Japanese GP panned out
Sebastian Vettel on his mistake and FIA’s clarification
Valtteri Bottas admits about concerns he had of Lewis Hamilton not pitting
Robert Kubica felt let down by Williams in Japanese GP
Charles Leclerc accepted blame for Turn 2 incident
Toto Wolff and Lewis Hamilton dedicate title to Niki Lauda
Sergio Perez feels he left enough space for Pierre Gasly in their clash
The story was written by Duncan Leahy and edited by Darshan Chokhani