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Formula 1 Japanese GP

Albon feared about Williams F1 spares "before I even hit the wall"

Alex Albon says he was thinking about Williams' spare parts situation even before he hit the wall while crashing out of Formula 1's Japanese Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari, 3rd position, celebrate on the podium with Champagne

On the opening lap, Albon was hit by RB's poor-starting Daniel Ricciardo in Turn 3, at the start of the Esses.

The glancing blow sent both cars into the tyre barriers, which had to be repaired during the following 30-minute red flag interruption.

While the accident happened at relatively low speeds, another crash was the last thing Williams needed.

The team still has no spare chassis available, which made Logan Sargeant sit out the Australian Grand Prix after Albon damaged his chassis in a practice shunt and took over his team-mate's car.

Sargeant returned for Japan with the repaired chassis and escaped further drama when he crashed in FP1.

Another shunt in the race for Albon puts further squeeze on Williams in terms of spare parts production and the Thai driver said the thought of damaging his chassis went through his mind even before he hit the wall.

"Immediately. Before I even hit the wall," he replied when asked when the spare chassis situation played on his mind.

Marshals assist after a crash between Daniel Ricciardo, RB F1 Team VCARB 01, Alex Albon, Williams FW46, at the start

Marshals assist after a crash between Daniel Ricciardo, RB F1 Team VCARB 01, Alex Albon, Williams FW46, at the start

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

"It's exactly what we don't need. The impact itself was relatively low speeds, but it's the way that I hit the tyre wall. Normally, we have this kind of plastic barriers, the Armco. But this was much more dug in and it really stops very violently.

"They're the questions I'm worried about, not for me, [but] for the car, because that's where you can do damage.

"We haven't had the car back yet. We need to assess it, hopefully it's okay."

When asked for his view of what happened, Albon said he was trying to back off once he realised he was in Ricciardo's blind spot, but couldn't help avoiding the contact.

"I had a grip advantage [on soft tyres], kind of surprised [with] the grip I had out of [Turn] 2, and was able to pull underneath him and have a good run into 3," Albon explained.

"More about just trying to get him a little bit off line [at Turn] 3 and try and find a way for 4, 5, 6, 7 - to see if I could upset his line a little bit.

"Obviously just one of them. He didn't see me, clearly. I tried to back out of it last minute.

"There was a moment where I realised he hadn't seen me here, the way he's pulling across, so I hit the brakes and tried to get out of it.

The cars of Daniel Ricciardo, RB F1 Team VCARB 01 and Alex Albon, Williams FW46 in the tyre barrier after they crashed on the opening lap

The cars of Daniel Ricciardo, RB F1 Team VCARB 01 and Alex Albon, Williams FW46 in the tyre barrier after they crashed on the opening lap

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

"But I was almost too far alongside him and he still was coming across, I couldn't avoid it."

With no spare car available until Miami, Williams is continuing to walk on eggshells while its pool of spare parts dwindles.

"It's no secret that we are having a tough time with it at the moment with the parts we've got," Albon acknowledged. "This is going to hurt us for sure."

Watch: F1 2024 Japanese Grand Prix Review – Normal Service Resumed

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