Column | Albon 'ruined' Verstappen victory Max Verstappen

Column | Albon 'ruined' Verstappen victory

By Sjoerd Valkering 03 August 2020 | 15:47

With astonishment I watched what happened on Sunday afternoon in the 47th lap of the British Grand Prix. Alexander Albon at that point, with five laps to go, took the fastest lap from Max Verstappen from P12.

"What the f*ck?", I thought. "And now Verstappen has to go in to get the fastest lap back?", was my next thought. And that's not entirely without risk. Something can always go wrong during a pit stop, for example, that a tire doesn't go on. Why is Albon doing this? 

As the race unfolds the astonishment becomes even greater. Valtteri Bottas gets a flat tire, Verstappen makes the pit stop to take the fastest lap away from Albon again and in the final lap Lewis Hamilton also gets a flat tire. Verstappen then comes closer fast but falls just a corner short to overtake Hamilton.

Verstappen is disappointed on the onboard radio but also understands that he had been 'lucky' with a flat tire from Hamilton and Bottas. And at Red Bull? After the race, there was no discussion about the fastest lap Albon had taken from Verstappen. If the 'number two' at Red Bull Racing hadn't done this, Verstappen wouldn't have had to make that extra pit stop and he would have won the race. 

It gets more painful when you start thinking about who is responsible. We can't blame Albon for wanting to go as fast as he can. But of course, in the third sector of that fast lap, his race engineer should have told him to hold back, or he'll take that fastest lap from Verstappen while he is only driving P12 himself.

But he didn't do that, or Albon ignored him. Knowing the well behaved Albon, engineer Simon Rennie probably didn't say anything. Rennie, right, that guy who just before this Grand Prix has been transferred as an 'experienced' engineer to help Albon. He makes this big mistake which has cost Verstappen seven World Championship points and a mental slap for Hamilton. (Photo: Red Bull Content Pool/Getty Images)



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