Alexander Albon FINALLY grabbed his first podium in F1. This is certainly long overdue since he has shown the potential before. Also, he had 2 major chances of getting that first podium, but they were all wiped out due to Lewis Hamilton crashing into Albon. This time, Lewis Hamilton was too busy leading most of the race. The Red Bull driver really had to make some decisive overtakes to get this podium. If you have been an F1 fan since 2019, you would know how hard he’s been pushing for this podium. Red Bull promoted him from Torro Rosso in the middle of 2019, as a replacement for Pierre Gasly. Coming to after the 2020 Italian Grand Prix, Albon was under immense pressure.
Gasly won in Italy with Red Bull’s sister team Alpha Tauri, and rumours and talks about Gasly replacing Albon at Red Bull were circulating the F1 world. Gasly himself said he was ready if Red Bull were to give him another chance. I thought that Christian Horner and Red Bull would’ve had a headache after the Italian Grand Prix. Gasly already achieved his first podium at Brazil in 2019, and now he stormed to victory in Italy this year. While Gasly was very opportunistic, the Thai-Brit did struggle in Italy. However, Red Bull still had his back.
Horner wanted to give Albon the best opportunity to keep his seat. Horner and Red Bull Motorsport Advisor Helmut Marko openly support Albon and waved off any rumours of switching Albon and Gasly. They’re both great drivers, but with Red Bull’s current struggles, and with AlphaTauri moving from a Junior team of Red Bull to a Sister team, more stability and less off sudden changes are required. And I’m sure Red Bull are proud that they stuck with their driver because he bossed the 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix and earned his first podium.
Yeah, thank you everyone. Thanks for everything, thanks for… sticking with me! But yeah thank you.Alex Albon, Team Radio, Post Race, 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix
How Albon Achieved The Podium In Detail
The 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix was more than hectic. It was MAD. To read more about it, check out the F1ntastic 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix Race Review. Through all that action, it would’ve been pretty hard to notice exactly how Albon achieved that podium. However, here at F1ntastic, we’re going to see exactly what he did.
Albon actually started in P4, after a rather impressive qualifying for the Thai-Brit driver. His race start was ok; he retained P4 but would’ve lost positions if it wasn’t for the Safety Car. The Lap 1 crash saved him since the Racing Points and especially Lance Stroll were looking to attack him. Off the Safety Car restart, Lance Stroll was about to overtake Albon, but the massive crash that took place behind the Top 10 saved the Red Bull once again. After the whole Red Flag period was the standing restart. The 2nd standing start was a big problem for the Red Bull. We’ll look into why this was the case later. Albon tumbled down the order. As soon as the lights went out, and into San Denato (Turn 1), the Racing Points flew past him with ease. Daniel Ricciardo could use all that slipstream and make the move too.
To make matters worse, the AlphaTauri of Daniil Kvyat was about to pass Albon! However, the Kvyat couldn’t get past him. Albon was in P7. Things were not looking good AT ALL. Then Ricciardo got past Perez on Lap 15, and on Lap 18, at the same corner and only a few seconds down the road, Alexander Albon passed Sergio Perez into Turn 1 and got up into P6. Leclerc fell massively down the order, especially after his pitstop onto the Hard tires. That allowed Albon to essentially gain a free position and brought him up into P5. Ahead of him, during the pitstop phase, Ricciardo had made an undercut on Stroll and went up into P3. Things were going mad, and everyone was talking about Renault and Ricciardo getting a podium. But then, everything changed.
On Lap 43, Lance Stroll’s Racing Point careered into the barriers at Arrabbiata 2. Alex Albon was only a couple of seconds behind him, so he easily took that position. The Red Flag came out, and the session saw a Red Flag once again. The cranes had to use the circuit to get to the crash site, which is why the race director stopped the race. I mentioned this in the 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix Race Review when I spoke about why the Red Flags came out twice at Mugello. At the race restart, Albon was up into P4 now, there were only 15 laps to go in the Grand Prix. The start was terrible once again, and Perez overtakes Albon again.
Coming into Turn 1, Albon had to aggressively defend from Lando Norris as well. He even pushed him off the track, but there were no penalties or anything of that sort. The Red Bull driver continuously tried to pass the Racing Point. By the exit of Turn 3, Albon was alongside Perez on the outside. That was a really brave move he was making. He had no space, but he still went on the exit kerb. Albon even dipped his rear-left tire in the gravel and then Perez gave him the space on the track. Albon pulled off a brilliant move around the outside, which is one of the reasons he has earned the ‘Mr Round The Outside’ nickname. But that’s not it. On Lap 48, Valterri Bottas overtook Daniel Ricciardo P2. Ok, the Renault was still in the podium places. But for how much longer?
On Lap 51, Alex Albon had caught up to Ricciardo. He was powering down the main straight, with DRS open, and he was rapidly closing the gap. Ricciardo left some space on the inside, but the track would narrow, so Albon had to go around the outside. And guess what? He went around the outside, and swooped past Daniel Ricciardo. I’m pretty sure everyone agrees with me when I say that that was an amazing move. That explains why he’s known as ‘Mr Round The Outside’ even more now, because he’s amazing at pulling off fabulous moves around the outside. He’s done it several times before, so it’s only fair to say that that should be his signature move, and it probably is, around the outside.
Why Albon’s drive Was Better Than You Thought
To end of this post, I just want to talk about a couple of things that you may have not noticed. Albon’s drive was already amazing; he made some fabulous overtakes and really earned that podium. However, there’s still more. First of all, let’s talk about Red Bull’s power issues. Red Bull had some major issues with their engine this race, and this was for both cars. The problem was really severe for Verstappen. Off the start, his car just didn’t accelerate, and he lost an immense amount of positions, which is why he was so far back that he got crashed into on Lap 1.
Albon’s issues were less severe. He was losing a fair bit of power, and he complained about that on the radio, saying that he just needed more power. He was really struggling on the straights, so while fighting with his rivals, he was also fighting his own car. Another reason that Albon did better than you think is that he had a slight injury during the race. He was right behind Lance Stroll when Stroll went crashed on Lap 49. Mugello is full of gravel traps, so Stroll sprayed gravel all over the air and on the track when he went off the track. A couple of pieces of gravel hit Albon. As if little stones hitting your hands doesn’t hurt enough, Albon was driving an F1 car at full throttle, since the Arrabbiata section is pretty much flat out.
So that oncoming gravel hit his hands extremely hard. He spoke about this on the radio too. So Albon had to contend with a bad car, or a slightly underperforming car let’s say. He had to contend with a fair amount of pain in his hands. For a Formula 1 driver, your hands are extremely important, because you manage so many things with the steering wheel. Albon managed those problems and pulled off amazing overtakes, so I think he definitely deserves this podium. Let me know in the comments below, do you think ‘Mr Round The Outside’ will get another podium this year? And stay on the lookout for new posts!