Alex Albon blamed cold brakes for his crash in first practice at the Brazilian Grand Prix on Friday.
The newly-confirmed Red Bull driver for 2020 was already fastest on intermediate tires when a number of teams opted to try slicks at the end of FP1. With the track still damp and temperatures fairly low, Albon was at the end of his out lap when he slid off at Juncao – the final braking point on the circuit – and hit the barrier on the outside of the track, damaging the front right corner of his car.
“Just a cold track obviously, and you just tip-toe around and lose brake temperature, so that’s pretty much what happened,” Albon said. “I went to brake but there was nothing there. If you do it again it’s like you almost have to push harder, it’s not easy to tell yourself but it’s one of those things, and it happened on the worst part of the track.”
The crash brought out the red flags and a slightly premature end to FP1, but the damage was relatively light and Albon was able to take part in the second session. However, he ended up ninth after struggling on his low fuel run and said an error impacted on his qualifying simulation.
“It’s OK, I haven’t actually done a really clear run,” he said. “I had a flat spot straight away on the option tires and that was that, really. We’ll have a look and we’ll try and get a good idea for tomorrow.”
Teammate Max Verstappen was also not getting carried away with Red Bull’s pace despite being a little over 0.1s off top spot in FP2, citing the weather conditions as the main reason for his caution.
“Of course it’s a bit of a messy day because of the weather, and also the temperatures are a bit different compared to what it’s going to be tomorrow and Sunday, so I don’t know if it really represents a lot,” Verstappen said. “But at least the dry running was quite positive for us.
“Honestly I don’t mind if it’s wet or dry. The car is working well. Of course there are always things you can improve, but it’s a positive start and we’ll start over again tomorrow because the weather will be different.”