Albon blames gust of wind for qualifying spin
Red Bull's Alex Albon says a gust of wind was to blame for the spin that put him out of qualifying and leaves him 18th on the grid for the Russian Grand Prix.
The Thai driver spun backwards into the wall at Turn 1 early in the Q1 session at Sochi, bringing out the red flags and meaning he was left as slowest of all the drivers who attempted to set times.
Speaking about what happened afterwards, he said that the combination of a tail wind and a gust conspired to trigger the incident.
"I got caught out a bit with the wind," said Albon. "It was tricky out there, and yeah, just went in a bit deep. I thought I'd get away with it, else I'd have aborted the corner and gone to the escape road.
"But I kind of tried to stay on, keep the corner let's say, and yeah, just lost the rear. With a tailwind through there, it's not easy and the wall's very close on the exit. Unfortunately that was that."
Albon's error has come on the back of a weekend where he has not appeared to be too comfortable, but he still reckoned there was a chance of qualifying in the top six.
"I think it's fair to say all weekend I haven't been that quick, but it was getting better," he said. "In qualifying we started to really understand the car and the pace was actually not too bad - although that's hard to say when you only do half a lap.
"The feeling was there. Where Max [Verstappen] was, I think that was really it. I would like to be near [Valtteri] Bottas but you never know."
Asked if he felt the mistake added pressure on him as he bids to convince Red Bull's bosses to keep him for next year, Albon said: "I wouldn't say I'm under pressure for the seat, to me it's just a chance more than anything else.
"Making a mistake is not helpful, just in terms of making a mistake, but yeah, I'm more disappointed in the result of crashing more than anything else."
Teammate Max Verstappen qualified fourth fastest but will start ninth thanks to an engine change penalty he has taken.
He reckons that Red Bull could not have done much better, with Ferrari having such a big advantage on the straights.
"We were just losing too much time as well on the straight compared to Ferrari," he said. "Yesterday, we were at the same pace on the straight and today we lose over a second."
Asked if he felt he was outperforming the car at the moment, based on the struggles that his teammates have faced, Verstappen said: "I think I'm definitely on top of the car, I think I really get everything out of it.
"To comment on their performance [Albon and Pierre Gasly]. I'm not them, but from my side I just try to push as hard as I can, I try to be as close as possible to Mercedes and Ferrari as I can be.
"We know some tracks are a bit better than others, but I think in general we are still lacking in general compared to the top two teams."
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