Alexander Albon says he took comfort from the fact Kimi Raikkonen spun early on the opening day of pre-season testing after his own error on the opening lap on Tuesday.
The track had only been live for a few minutes on the second day when Albon left the Toro Rosso garage, but he made it only as far as the exit of Turn 4 before spinning to the inside of the track and getting stuck in the gravel. After causing the early red flag, Albon admits he had to put the incident out of his mind and took solace from Raikkonen having a similar spin five minutes into running on Monday.
“I was thinking ‘don’t spin it’ but that was exactly what I did!” Albon said. “The morning was a little bit difficult but, to be honest, I didn’t want to think too much about it when I got back into the car.
“I just said to myself, ‘Hey, the track is really cold and Kimi did the same yesterday,’ so that kind of reassured me a little bit. In the end it was OK, definitively a good experience but the high-speed stuff is still new to me, a bit of a shock but I’m enjoying it.
“It’s quite funny because I had that experience before, spinning on an out lap, so I thought ‘You’ve done this before, so don’t think about it too much’. It kind of reassured me a little bit that Kimi had done it too, but I have to admit that in the runs after that I was a little bit like a dog with the tail between his legs. But it was OK, in the end.”
Although team principal Franz Tost suggested a steering issue, Albon says cold tires were to blame as he was being too cautious on his first lap.
“It’s really tricky out there because it’s so cold. We’ll never experience these temperatures in a Grand Prix weekend. It was my first time in the car, I didn’t want to spin and was focusing on just bringing it around back to the pits, because was just the installation lap.
“But I took it too easy in the first three corners and by the time I got to Turn 4 the tires had completely dropped off the temperature, so it was like a bit of a cycle and my own caution caused the spin.”
Albon recovered quickly from the incident to complete 132 laps but says he is still not fully up to speed having not tested an F1 car before a shakedown last week.
“Obviously, I did the filming day in Misano previously, so it wasn’t a total shock and, of course, we’ve been doing quite a lot of simulator, so the feeling was that I knew what the car could do from the simulator but, of course, when you have the G-forces and the actual speed going, it takes a little while to get used to.
“In your mind you know what you can do with the car, but actually doing it it’s a different story. It took a while and I’m not right there yet, there’s a bit of margin, but with these cars there’s so much grip, so much braking power that even though I felt quite comfortable straight away, finding the right balance and being really connected takes a bit more time.”