Albon believes race win went up in smoke after Hamilton clash

"I feel like I had completed the move on Lewis already and I was thinking about getting Bottas on the next lap"
Albon and Hamilton clashed late in the race, costing Albon a podium finishAlbon and Hamilton clashed late in the race, costing Albon a podium finish
Albon and Hamilton clashed late in the race, costing Albon a podium finish

Alex Albon felt he could have won Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix easily had he not collided with Lewis Hamilton in the battle for second place shortly before the end.

The Thai driver was attempting to make a move around the outside of Turn 4 when the pair clashed for the second time in three races, sending Albon back through the field. He would retire two laps from the end with an engine issue, rounding out a forgettable weekend on the whole for Red Bull Racing at their home circuit.

With both Mercedes cars suffering gearbox sensor issues, Albon felt he had the pace late in the race to pass the duo before he was knocked into a spin by Hamilton.

Max Verstappen retired early on after a car failureMax Verstappen retired early on after a car failure
Max Verstappen retired early on after a car failure

"I really think we could have easily won that race," said Albon. "We had a great strategy, the guys did a great job in the pit stops, yes we had a little bit of fortune with the Safety Car, but the car was feeling good.

"The hard tyre wasn’t very strong today and I knew the Mercedes would have cold tyres on the re-start, so I already planned to get past them within a few laps of the Safety Car coming in.

"I feel like I had completed the move on Lewis already, and I was thinking about getting Bottas on the next lap. The contact with Lewis was so late in the corner that it surprised me. I was right on the edge of the track and I knew if I gave him all the space I could it would be up to him if he wants to crash or not."

Max Verstappen was running second in the early running on Sunday after he was promoted thanks to Hamilton's earlier grid penalty before his RB16 suffered a failure and he was forced into retirement after just 12 laps.

He said: "That’s not how you want to start the season. I had a good start, unlike last year, and quite early on I could see that Valtteri was quick so fighting for the win was always going to be a big challenge.

"I think it would have been an easy podium and third would have been a decent start to the season but what can you do? This is racing and it is what it is, you can’t change the result now.

"It is a shame for everyone who worked so hard to get us here this weekend but we will just focus on the race next week and hope for something better.”