Alexander Albon says he had a drive through a “fireball” as the sparks flew off Lance Stroll’s damaged Racing Point at the start of Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
The start of Sunday night’s race has been described by others as a “war zone” with drivers hitting one another and sparks flying.
Some of those sparks distracted Albon, who found himself behind Stroll’s damaged Racing Point after the Canadian clashed with Romain Grosjean.
“I was a bit too safe around me, there were some people braking earlier, and I kind of reacted to it and braked with them,” Albon told Autosport.
“So at Turn 1 I was too safe and then on the exit of Turn 3 it was like a fireball coming into my face and it kind of distracted me.
“I was caught out and then he braked and I was like, ‘Has he got damage, what’s going on?’.”
He added: “It was really hot. You could feel the heat.
“It did not worry me, but it was a new experience. I thought ‘whoa, I need to get out of this’.
“I actually lost a position I think, because I was avoiding him, trying to avoid all the ‘flames’.”
Albon recovered from his difficult start to his race his way to ninth place, scoring his first F1 points for Toro Rosso.
“I think there was more in it. It’s a bit of shame with the start, because I think if I had a bit of clean air, we could have done a lot better.
“But I am happy with performance. First thing I need is to qualify a bit better, get into Q3, because I think we deserve or we can do that.”