Max Verstappen had a bad start in F1 Italian GP as contact with Sergio Perez made it worse while double hit for Alexander Albon left him with no pace.
‘Torrid’ is one of few words apt to describe the race endured by Red Bull at the F1 Italian GP at Monza – a race during which the team had one car second-to-last in the running order, and one, out of the running altogether.
The former of the aforementioned two results was suffered by Albon, who lacked the pace to put forth any serious threat to the midfield teams, leave alone those at the front. The Thai-Brit driver would ultimately finish 15th, carrying damage to this eventual result.
Albon stated that a persistent lack of grip due to damage hampered his running as he had double contact at the start, one with Pierre Gasly and the other with Romain Grosjean at the same Turn 1 – for the latter he was handed a five-second time penalty.
“I don’t know how much but we were carrying a bit of damage,” said Albon. “I’ll have to check it out with the guys. It was obviously a long race for us, we just didn’t have any grip. We definitely had damage, I have to see what the team has to say.
“It wasn’t a fun race. It was a tough weekend for us as a team, even without circumstances, it was always going to be tough. It was a better day for AlphaTauri, so well done to them,” Albon said after the devastatingly poor showing.
Christian Horner revealed that the floor damage cost him nearly a second a lap. In fact, he couldn’t even pass Williams’ George Russell in the second half on the hard compounds. Meanwhile, the first half of the race was also compromised for Verstappen, who – along with Valtteri Bottas – fell down the order after a poor start.
Also like Bottas, he struggled to make ground in traffic, and an as-of-yet unspecified mechanical issue brought about the end to his race prematurely. He even lost out to Racing Point’s Lance Stroll but regained the place to slot behind the Finn.
“First we had a very bad start – when I dropped the clutch, there was just a lot of wheelspin, because the engine was hot somehow,” said Verstappen. “From there onward, we got stuck in the DRS train, so you couldn’t pass.
“After the red flag, at the [second] re-start, when I accelerated, I had a problem with the engine. We tried to solve it, but it didn’t go away, and we had to retire the car,” summed up Verstappen, who also made contact with Racing Point’s Sergio Perez at Turn 2.
It was contact that, while not seen on broadcast and with no videos available, apparently contributed to the poorer showing of Perez. It did not happen straight up on re-start but likely on Lap 2. “As soon as the mess started, we got the worst start of it,” he said.
“Norris [slowing down and] making the gap in the pit lane made things really poor – I’m surprised he didn’t get a penalty, but fair enough. Then we had a poor stop, I lost positions to two cars, and then at the restart Verstappen just crashed into me in turn two – pushed me off.
“[He] did a lot of damage to my car, and the car was just very damaged. In the end we got to score a point, good result for the team with a podium, but yeah we did everything we could, just didn’t have the luck with me,” summed up Perez.
Here’s video of Alex Albon and Pierre Gasly’s contact: https://www.formula1.com/en/video/2020/9/2020_Italian_Grand_Prix__Gasly_and_Albon_collide_at_race_start.html
Here’s video of Alex Albon and Romain Grosjean’s contact: https://www.formula1.com/en/video/2020/9/2020_Italian_Grand_Prix__Grosjean_pushed_onto_grass_by_Albon.html
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