By Full Contact News and Views
This weekend saw Formula One arrive in Sakhir Bahrain, for the second round of the World Championship. Having held its first F1 race back in 2004, Bahrain has become a fan favourite and staple part of the F1 calendar, with its long straights and fast flowing corners always producing stellar wheel to wheel racing.
For British/Thai F1 rookie and our client Alex Albon, Bahrain was only his second race weekend as a fully fledged F1 driver – having made his debut in Melbourne, Australia two weeks ago.
The weekend got off to a light hearted note for Alex, with him being invited to race fellow British F1 rookies George Russell (Williams) and Lando Norris (McLaren) at a Sky Sports karting event on Thursday evening. The grid also included F1 and Le Mans legend Jonny Herbert – who at 54 years of age still had plenty of speed and racing trickery up his sleeve. Having emerged victorious from the karting event (with a little jostling for position it must be said!) it was down to the real business of the weekend on Friday for Alex, as he strapped himself into the Torro Rosso F1 car for the First Practice session.
Finishing just outside the top 10 in practice, there was plenty to be optimistic about for Alex heading into qualifying on Saturday evening. After an intense and hard fought session Alex emerged P12 – qualifying two rows ahead of his much more experienced Russian team mate Daniil Kvyat. It was a job well done therefore for Alex as his attention turned to the race on Sunday.
Race day in Bahrain is always a stunning spectacle with the dazzling pre-race air shows and array of famous faces on the grid – which this year saw a certain Mr Beckham in attendance. As the sun began to dip behind the horizon in the desert, V6 turbo F1 engines barked and roared into life for the final time of the weekend.
A clean, if not cautious start, saw Alex running P14 for the first 10 laps of the race – with his team-mate Daniil Kvyat stuck to the rear wing of his car throughout. On lap 10 Alex got the call from the team to pit for his first tyre change of the evening. With some slick work from the Torro Rosso pit crew Alex was able to re-emerge on circuit ahead of Pierre Gasly in the Redbull – the senior team to Toro Rosso.
A further punishing 16 laps in the desert heat ensued, Alex working hard behind the wheel, before he was called in by the team for his second and final pit stop of the evening. Making good use of his new rubber, Alex progressed up to P11 and set about chasing after Daniel Ricciardo in the Renault for that lucrative 10th position and the first points of his F1 career.
With 3 laps to go Alex’s efforts looked in vain when fortune struck – both Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg in the sister Renault were out of the race with engine failure. P9 beckoned and a beaming Mr Albon as he took the chequered flag.
Round 3 of the Formula One World Championship will be held in two weeks time in Shanghai, China in what will be the 1,000th race of the prestigious Championship. It will be a momentous occasion for the sport and will no doubt be a weekend of celebrations for the drivers, teams and fans alike. One can only hope that the racing is a close, intense and hard-fought as it was in the desert this weekend and that Alex can build on his impressively solid start to his F1 career.
« Alex Albon makes Formula 1 debut in Australia “Driver of the Day” – More Points for Alex Albon in Shanghai »
About Full Contact
Full Contact News and Views includes articles contributed by Associates and professional contacts within the Full Contact team and includes opinion on sports law, PR and media, football agency and more.
Sign up to receive the latest updates from Full Contact daily, straight to your inbox