Albon fumes at Alonso’s ‘ridiculous’ Q1 tactics

Sam Cooper
Alex Albon driving in Baku. Baku, June 2022.

Williams' Alex Albon driving during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Baku, June 2022.

Alex Albon said Fernando Alonso “needs to get penalised” as he accused the Alpine racer of driving too slowly at the end of Q1 for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Following Lance Stroll’s crash late in the first session, Albon was among a number of drivers desperate to get out of the pits and over the start line before the final two-and-a-half minutes had elapsed.

But his way was blocked as other teams and drivers, who were safely into Q2 if results stayed the same, went out ahead and could dictate the pace of the pack.

One of the most guilty culprits was Alonso, who backed up the pack, similar to how he did during the last race in Monaco, before going off at the run-off area at Turn 15 when he did not appear to need to do so.

Albon, eliminated as a result of the yellow flags caused by the Spaniard, went on to his team radio to angrily accuse Alonso of doing so on purpose and encouraged the stewards to penalise the 40-year-old.

“He needs to get penalised, this guy (Alonso), he has to,” said Albon. “This is ridiculous. He was doing it the whole lap. He was driving slowly on purpose and then it was so obvious, how he went off the track it was ridiculous.

“He braked so early and then he just went off the circuit.”

At the time of writing, the stewards had not said they were investigating Alonso.

As a result of his early exit, Albon will line up 17th on Sunday’s grid in Baku which is actually his fourth best qualifying performance of the season so far, but clearly he felt there was more pace in the car and more could have been achieved.

It is also the eighth time in as many races he has outqualified his team-mate Nicholas Latifi, who ended the day P18.

Alonso’s lap also ruined the chances of Kevin Magnussen, who was pushing to move into Q2 for the sixth time this season. Instead, he will start P16 ahead of Albon and Latifi.