By Dan Chapman
Round three of the Formula One Championship saw client Alex Albon travel to Shanghai, China. The weekend marked a momentous occasion for the sport, as it celebrated its 1,000th Grand Prix.
Fans were treated to festivities throughout the course of the weekend. The likes of former World Champion and F1 legend Damon Hill took to the circuit in his father’s 1969 Monaco winning Lotus 49B – the historic bark and rumble of the V8 Ford Cosworth engine filling the grandstands once more.
Friday morning saw the drivers and teams settle down to business, as the pit lane lights turned green for the First Free Practice session of the weekend. Full Contact client Alex Albon was brimming with confidence, following his superb weekend last time out in Bahrain, which saw the young British/Thai driver score his first points in Formula One.
The 3.387 mile circuit at Shanghai is renowned for being punishing on tyres, with its fast sweeping bends and long straights presenting a set-up headache for engineers. For Alex, the weekend did not start as planned. A big crash in Free Practice on Saturday morning saw the Toro Rosso mechanics up against it to fix the car in time for qualifying. Despite the team’s best efforts the car could not be repaired in time, meaning that Alex would be forced to start the race from the pit lane on Sunday – not what the young rookie had envisaged heading into the weekend.
Race day arrived and Alex had a steely determination about him. All attention and focus was on 3:10pm, when it would be lights out in Shanghai for 56 laps behind the wheel. Lap 1 resulted in contact between the McLaren teammates yielding Alex two easy positions. By lap 8 Alex had progressed up to P14 – setting the fastest lap of the race in the process.
On lap 20 Alex got the call from the team to stop for fresh rubber. Some slick work from the Toro Rosso pit crew saw him re-emerge ahead of Lance Stroll in the Racing Point car. Alex was now P12 and chasing down the experienced Haas pairing of Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean.
Lap 31 and Magnussen elected to make his second stop of the afternoon for new tyres, with Grosjean duly following suit on lap 36. This moved Alex up to P10 and into the points paying positions.
By lap 52 Alex’s tyres were starting to show their pain. With Grosjean pumping in quick times on his new rubber, it looked as though a pit lane to points finish might just be out of reach for Alex. However a stellar last two laps saw him cross the finish line 0.6 seconds ahead of Grosjean, thus securing another valuable World Championship point for Toro Rosso in what was their 250th Grand Prix start.
Alex’s exceptional drive ensured that he received the fans “Driver of the Day” Award – a just reward for his hard work this weekend. All attention now turns to the city of Baku in two weeks time, which will host round four of the World Championship. The circuit boasts the highest tops speeds of the year, a staggering 214mph – we can’t wait for the action to resume.« Alex Albon scores first F1 points in Bahrain Alex Albon scores best finish at Monaco Grand Prix »
The spearhead and Senior Partner of Full Contact, Dan is an experienced solicitor and advocate, with a specialist background in employment law and sports.
Sign up to receive the latest updates from Full Contact daily, straight to your inbox