Japanese Grand Prix red-flagged with Daniel Ricciardo involved in big first-lap collision

Thomas Maher
Alex Albon, Williams, and Daniel Ricciardo, RB, 2024 Japanese Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo and Alex Albon jump out of their crashed cars after a first-lap collision.

The Japanese Grand Prix has been red-flagged on the very first lap, due to a collision between Daniel Ricciardo and Alex Albon.

Just 30 seconds after the start of the race at Suzuka, the red flags had to be waved to clean up after a crash involving Ricciardo and Albon as they jostled for position on the opening lap.

Daniel Ricciardo and Alex Albon collide

Ricciardo, who started the race from 11th on the grid, was scrapping in the midfield having had a poor getaway from the line and was squabbling over 14th place when he made what appeared to be an error of judgement.

Albon – who started the race on the soft tyres – managed to get much better traction out of Turn 2 to position himself on the outside of Turn 3 and pass the RB driver.

But Ricciardo, who seemed to be focused on Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, moved over on Albon without seeming to realise the presence of the Williams, resulting in sizable contact between the pair.

The two cars spun off the track and into the barriers, where both drivers climbed out of their cars unscathed. The race was red-flagged to allow for the recovery of the cars, clean up the debris, and repair the disturbed tyre barriers.

Albon, who appeared to have been the hapless victim of the incident, got on the radio to say: “He just squeezed me. I had nowhere to go.”

Race Control has taken note of the incident, and is set to investigate the collision following the Grand Prix’s conclusion.

The race will resume at 14:32 local time, meaning just over a 20-minute stoppage as a result of the collision and the repairs required.

The 18 cars still left in the race will resume in the order they had been at the end of the first sector, as they had passed the first timing beams of the lap by the time the race was red-flagged.

This means it’s Max Verstappen starting from pole position for the standing restart, ahead of Sergio Perez and Lando Norris.

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