Alexander Albon believes Lewis Hamilton was more to blame for their collision in the Austrian Grand Prix than pair’s clash in Brazil last year, and that today’s incident cost him his maiden victory.
Mercedes had shown the pace to dominate the 2020 season opener at the Red Bull Ring but was suffering with gearbox concerns and both cars opted not to pit under a late safety car. Albon was running third and stopped for new soft tires, dropping to fourth but soon passing Sergio Perez and then attacking Hamilton on a restart. As Albon went around the outside of the Mercedes at Turn 4, contact with Hamilton tipped him into a spin into the gravel and the Red Bull driver was angry about it afterward.
“I gotta be careful what I say,” Albon said. “But yeah, it is what it is. I really felt like we could’ve won that race. Of course I think Mercedes had the outright pace today but the guys did a great job with strategy.
“Honestly when I did the pitstop I came out on track and didn’t know where I was. Then as soon as it all played out it looked really strong for us, and I knew basically they were on the hard tires and the first five laps I was going to do the overtakes.”
Hamilton received a five-second time penalty for the incident, the same penalty he got for a similar collision in the closing stages in Brazil last year, but Albon felt the Austria clash was on the defending champion.
“I feel like this one, I wouldn’t say it hurts more but I felt like Brazil was a bit more 50/50. I felt like I did the move already. I was kind of already focused on (Valtteri) Bottas in front. It was so late, the contact. I think Brazil was 50/50. For me (this race) was more.
“I think there’s always a risk of overtaking on the outside but I gave as much space as I really could — I was on the edge. I thought if I give him as much space as I can give him, it was up to him if he wants to crash or not and, yeah…”