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Albon: “Number one” start in F1 field led to Brazil crash

Alex Albon says that making the “number one” start in the Formula 1 field triggered his crash with Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen at the start of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-23, Alex Albon, Williams FW45, crash at the start

Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-23, Alex Albon, Williams FW45, crash at the start

Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Albon was determined to quickly get past the Haas drivers, who were immediately ahead of him on the grid, because he expected them to be slow in the race.

After his good start Albon was trying to pass Hulkenberg on the right when the German found himself squeezed by Magnussen on his left, and contact was made.

Albon and Magnussen were eliminated on the spot, but Hulkenberg was able to continue, and his car underwent repairs under the red flag that soon followed.

The incident also left Oscar Piastri and Daniel Ricciardo with damage that saw both Australians taking the restart a lap down.

"The last three races, so Mexico, the sprint race yesterday and today, we've been number one on starts,” said Albon when asked by Autosport about the crash.

“We've had very good starts, three in a row now. Sometimes it works for you like it did in Mexico. And sometimes it works against you, like it did here today.

“So frustrating. I don't think I could have done anything different. I was as far right as I could. I think that the Haas on the left was likely blindsided, went across a little bit, squeezed the middle Haas, and that was it. I mean, it happens, it's just unfortunate."

A tyre from the crash between Alex Albon, Williams FW45, Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-23, bounces between Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523, Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-23

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

A tyre from the crash between Alex Albon, Williams FW45, Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-23, bounces between Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523, Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-23

Albon admitted that getting past Hulkenberg and Magnussen was going to be key to his race.

“I'm more just frustrated about having a good start going for nothing,” he said. “They were going to be the backstop, they were going to be the traffic makers, and if I could get past them early in the race, we would have had a really good chance to score points.

“It was only 100 metres, but in 100 metres it was looking like it was going the right way."

Asked if he could have made the top 10, Albon said: "You never know. But what's more important than scoring points, is making sure the others aren't scoring points. So if I wasn't going to score points, I was going to hold up the right people."

Hulkenberg compared the incident to one in Qatar last month which saw him tangle with Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez.

"Well, both felt attracted to me I think, and wanted to come and give me a kiss,” he joked of Magnussen and Albon. “And they got a kiss. I think they don't come again!

"Very similar to Qatar to be honest, it was like deja vu for me, but it all happened so quickly. Alex is on my right, Kevin is coming up as the corner goes left, so I think he pushed it a bit too hard, and paid the price in the end.

"There was minor damage on my car, which were able to repair on the red flag. But it was a shame because we lost the new set of soft tyres, which would have been very handy today, because the soft was definitely by far the best tyre. So yeah, that was not great."

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Magnussen admitted that his early retirement was made even more disappointing as it came a week after his huge crash in Mexico, which was triggered by suspension failure.

"I got a good start,” said the Dane. “I had a good feeling with the car, the soft tyre, on the left of the grid. I was telling my engineers it might be good, because I had a really positive feeling in the car.

“So it's typical, unlucky. I've hit the wall twice now, no fault of my own. It's a little bit frustrating."

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