Ricciardo and Albon analyse unfortunate crash on the opening lap at the F1 Japanese GP

Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool | Williams Racing
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The Japanese Grand Prix was thrown into disarray right from the start, with the collision and crash between Ricciardo and Albon on lap one. The Australian driver who was starting P11, right behind his teammate Yuki Tsunoda in P10, currently has zero points in the drivers standings went into the race with plans of bringing some back to the team.

But his day was done shortly after. In turn three of lap one, he came into contact with Albon resulting in a red flag. Both of them were ok and left the scene unaided.

Ricciardo had started on the medium tyre, but he was swallowed up by Hülkenberg and Bottas almost immediately. He then found himself stuck heading into turn 1 between Ocon and Tsunoda, forcing him to back out of it.

He got poor traction out of turn 2. As he tried to give Stroll some room, he did not see Albon on the other side of him and the pair made contact, heading into the wall.

All the cars around the RBs had softs at the start.

“That was weird because the cars in front of us look like they got off the line well – I guess [George] Russell, pretty sure everyone in front was on the medium, so it just looks like Yuki and I didn’t have the grip that we anticipated,” said the Australian.

“As soon as we launched, I could see [Valtteri] Bottas and [Nico] Hulkenberg just split us and go around.

“Then into one, I was in the middle, I think with Yuki and an Alpine and then by Turn 2 I thought alright, let’s just settle, and I soon as I got on the throttle, I was still struggling.

“I think [Lance] Stroll was on my outside, so I was trying to hold him off and then I guess as I’ve started to come back for [Turn] 3, Albon’s there.”

Ricciardo had already dropped to 15th out of turn 2. With Albon getting tremendous traction out of it on his soft tyres, he was trying to have a look around the outside.

As the Thai attempted to back out of it, the pair made light contact that had big consequences.

“I watched his onboard.

“I don’t even know if he wanted to be there, but his traction was so much better on the soft that he was like, well, there’s space, until there wasn’t.

“So I didn’t see him but honestly, I always assume maybe someone is there. It’s Lap 1, so I never tried to use the full width of the track and be completely ignorant.

“But yeah, I guess there was obviously not enough room.

“Lap One incidents are the worst cause there is always those questions of what could have been.

“A shame for not only us as a team but Alex. And you never want to see someone go out on lap one.”

Albon who qualified P14 yesterday started the race on softs compared to Ricciardo on the mediums, realised the Australian had not noticed him and tried to back out of it. But it was too late.

It saw the Williams driver clip the RB’s right rear tyre, sending both cars into the barriers. Albon’s chassis sustained damage and is heading back to the UK to be ready in time for Shanghai. But it’s another massive blow for a team who is struggling.

The stewards decided that it was neither of the drivers fault and designated the collision as a Lap One incident.

Albon gave his side of events afterwards as well.

“Obviously the softs and medium starting [tyres] so I had a good advantage.

“I kind of was surprised at the grip I had out of turn two and was able to pull underneath him and have a good run into three. More about just trying to get him a little bit offline for three and try and find a way for four, five, six, seven to see if I could upset his line a little bit.

“Obviously just one of them things. He didn’t see me clearly.

“I tried to back out of it last minute. There was a moment where I realised he hasn’t seen me here and the way he’s pulling across it, it’s tricky so I hit the brakes and tried to get out of it.

“But we were almost too far alongside him that as he kind of backs out of it, he still was coming across and I couldn’t avoid it.”

Williams who currently have zero points in the standings and after the shunt in Australia for Albon during free practice causing Sargeant to be benched due to the lack of spare chassis, entered this weekend hoping to have a cleaner one.

That did not materialise with Albon’s crash on Sunday and Logan Sargeant having a sizeable shunt in FP1.

Ricciardo and Albon are having a tough start this year with both of them yet to score points. China and Miami will give them 2 opportunities to do so as they are sprint weekends.