Alex Albon scored a first career podium in F1 as the Brit-Thai driver took third for Red Bull at a chaotic Tuscan Grand Prix.
The driver finished 3rd for the Milton Keynes-based team, taking them back onto the podium after neither car finished in the points last week.
It means Red Bull has its first podium delivered by a driver other than Max Verstappen since Daniel Ricciardo won the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix, with Albon doing so after a chaotic race that was stopped twice following huge crashes.
F1’s second consecutive race in Italy and its first visit to the Ferrari-owned Mugello circuit did not go so well for Verstappen, as he suffered a second DNF in as many races. The Dutchman reported engine trouble on the pre-race lap to the grid that wasn’t fixed, and despite seemingly making a better start than pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton, he quickly dropped down the order into the midfield from a starting position of third.
Its likely this would’ve lead to an early retirement had he even made it round one lap, but before he could make it that far, Verstappen was wiped out by a major crash involving Kimi Raikkonen, Romain Grosjean and last week’s race winner Pierre Gasly that triggered the first safety car of the day.
Albon then dropped places on the first post-red flag restart, caused after a major crash between Nicholas Latifi, Antonio Giovinazzi, Kevin Magnussen and Carlos Sainz.
When that had calmed down, Albon was in a fight with Daniel Ricciardo and Lance Stroll in the final stages for third until Stroll suffered a puncture at high speed and major crash that triggered the second red flag.
After that, Albon again lost places at another on-the-grid restart, but roared back, with late moves on Sergio Perez and Ricciardo getting the Brit-Thai driver to third and with it his first podium in Formula 1.
Speaking after the race, Albon voiced his delight at finally breaking his duck at the end of a tough race.
He said, “I’m really happy and it took a while to get here! It’s something I’ve always wanted and one way or another we haven’t been able to get it so to be there today is pretty special. It’s really nice to give the Team something back after they’ve supported me since day one and show them what I can do. It was a tough race and definitely not one of the easy ones. This track is brutal, especially the high speed corners in sector two, and with so many re-starts to manage we had our work cut out.
“We struggled to get off the line so I knew I had to be aggressive to get all the overtakes done but we had a really good car and we know it’s good on the brakes so we used that to our advantage. When we lost two positions on the final re-start, I was fired up as I wasn’t going to let the opportunity of a podium go by so I pushed hard to get third and I’m over the moon with today’s result.”
Meanwhile, his team-mate Verstappen was disappointed at back-to-back retirements, after an engine failure saw him fail to finish last week’s race at Monza.
He said, “I am of course very disappointed as I know this could have been a really good race for us. I had a good launch at the start of the race and went around Lewis but then the car just didn’t accelerate so I lost a lot of speed and had no power. I then dropped back into the midfield and got hit from behind.
“When you drop into the middle of the pack in the first few corners like that it’s quite easy to get involved in a crash so I’m not disappointed about that, we shouldn’t have been in that position in the first place. There isn’t much more to say but it is just really disappointing for the Team that we had to retire again, especially when we looked so competitive but it is of course good to see Alex maximize the result and get on the podium.”