Alex Albon has rued that making the ‘number one’ start amongst the Formula 1 field contributed to his crash with Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen on Lap 1 of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

Albon was keen to quickly dispatch the Haas drivers, who started the race immediately ahead of the Williams, as he expected the American outfit to be slow during the 71 lap race.

The Anglo-Thai driver had an excellent launch off the line and immediately put Hulkenberg under pressure as he sought to squeeze past on the right hand side approaching the first corner.

The German found himself squeezed on the left by team-mate Magnussen, and inevitable contact was made between the trio.

Albon and Magnussen would both retire immediately due to damage sustained in the clash, but Hulkenberg would continue after his car underwent repairs during the resultant red flag.

Oscar Piastri and Daniel Ricciardo both picked up rear wing damage in the melee, but would also continue, albeit a lap down, after they too made repairs under the red flag conditions.

“The last three races, so Mexico, the sprint race yesterday and today, we’ve been number one on starts,” Albon told when asked about the race ending incident.

“We’ve had very good starts, three in a row now. Sometimes it works for you like it did in Mexico. And sometimes it works against you, like it did here today.

Alexander Albon (THA) Williams Racing FW45 and Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Haas VF-23 crashed out at the start of the race.
05.11.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 21, Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Race Day.
–, EMail: © Copyright: Charniaux / XPB Images

“So frustrating. I don’t think I could have done anything different. I was as far right as I could. I think that the Haas on the left was likely blindsided, went across a little bit, squeezed the middle Haas, and that was it.

“I mean, it happens, it’s just unfortunate. I’m more just frustrated about having a good start going for nothing,” the Williams driver continued.

With AlphaTauri now just seven points adrift of the British outfit in the Constructors’ Championship, picking up points in Brazil was increasingly important for the squad. To date, Albon has secured 27 of Williams’ 28 championship points.

“They were going to be the backstop, they were going to be the traffic makers, and if I could get past them early in the race, we would have had a really good chance to score points,” Albon said of the requirement to swiftly pass the Haas drivers.

“It was only 100 metres, but in 100 metres it was looking like it was going the right way.

“You never know [if you are going to score points]. But what’s more important than scoring points, is making sure the others aren’t scoring points. So if I wasn’t going to score points, I was going to hold up the right people.”

Hulkenberg drew comparison to a similar incident in Qatar last month involving Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez.

“[They] both felt attracted to me I think, and wanted to come and give me a kiss,” Hulkenberg said in jest of the Lap 1 incident with Albon and Magnussen.

“Very similar to Qatar to be honest, it was like deja vu for me, but it all happened so quickly. Alex is on my right, Kevin is coming up as the corner goes left, so I think he pushed it a bit too hard, and paid the price in the end.

“There was minor damage on my car, which were able to repair on the red flag. But it was a shame because we lost the new set of soft tyres, which would have been very handy today, because the soft was definitely by far the best tyre. So yeah, that was not great,” concluded the Haas driver who crossed the line 12th.

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