Alex Albon, Williams, Monaco, 2022

Albon didn’t let Leclerc lap him because ‘it was quicker for both of us if I stayed ahead’

2022 Monaco Grand Prix

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Alexander Albon has explained why he infuriated Charles Leclerc by refusing to let the Ferrari driver lap him at a crucial moment during the Monaco Grand Prix.

The Williams driver emerged from the pits in front of Leclerc on lap 18. Albon had switched to slick tyres while the former race leader had put intermediate rubber on two laps earlier.

Leclerc caught Albon at Massenet, but despite a series of blue flags around the rest of the lap, Albon refused to let him by. The Ferrari driver became increasingly frustrated, exclaiming “Come on! What the fuck?” on his radio as he followed the Williams.

As the next lap began Albon’s race engineer began telling him to Leclerc past. But the Williams skidded off the track at Sainte Devote anyway, which allowed Leclerc by.

Albon defended his refusal to make way, saying his slick tyres meant he would have quickly been able to re-pass Leclerc had he let the Ferrari through.

“It’s tricky because we went out on slicks and we had a massive pace advantage,” Albon explained. “It would take three corners to let him past and then I would have been straightaway quick enough to re-overtake him again.

Mick Schumacher, Haas, Monaco, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Monaco Grand Prix in pictures
“You get into a position where, in my eyes, for both of us, it was quicker if I just stayed ahead, because I would have pulled away pretty much straight away. So that’s it really.

“It’s one of those awkward situations. But in my eyes it was a bit like if we let him right past we’re going to overtake him straight back again.”

Despite his error and later retirement with a technical problem, Albon was pleased with his car’s performance.

“Honestly, our pace was good enough and I wasn’t just driving it like qualifying,” he said. “I was managing everything and I was feeling strong with the car.

“So we do have positives and we know race pace is a positive for us. So as bleak as today was or the result was, I think it’s been a step forward for us.”

Albon picked up a five-second time penalty during the race for gaining an advantage over Mick Schumacher by cutting across the chicane. The stewards gave him a penalty point, which puts him on a total of four.

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2022 Monaco Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
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31 comments on “Albon didn’t let Leclerc lap him because ‘it was quicker for both of us if I stayed ahead’”

  1. The article says Leclerc lost time running behind Albon so I guess we have to ask Albon if he is in agreement with the article.

    1. yeah, it seemes like not all the facts can fit together. If Albon was quicker, then Leclerc would have hardly lost any time, right. Or maybe Leclerc just cooked his inters trying to push too hard to get past Albon? Or maybe Albon feels some affinity with his helm sponsor and felt it was prudent to not make it easy on Leclerc?

    2. Exactly, only one thing can be true. Either Albon was indeed faster, or he was not. If the former is true, Albon wants people to believe that a driver with plenty of poles and numerous wins can’t tell when he is being held up. If the latter is true, Albon openly admits to purposefully ignoring instructions from race control to hinder one of the leaders.

      Whichever one thinks is the case, this situation is just one more reason among many why Red Bull should not be allowed to field two teams, and have even more of their drivers in other teams. A full 25% of the grid is now on Red Bull’s payroll.

      1. I don’t disagree fielding 2 teams should not be done.
        But then it has to be consistent, Toto also has his hand in too many cookie jars.

      2. @MichaelN He’s fully Williams-contracted with the only RB-related reference being his personal sponsor Krating Daeng, RB’s Thai division, so people should stop putting weight on this trivial aspect.

  2. This is a pretty disingenuous explanation from Albon. If he had much more pace, he wouldn’t have been holding Leclerc up at all. I can see why he didn’t yield for the first corner or two, assuming that his tyres would be much quicker once they reached temperature, but after that didn’t happen I struggle to believe he didn’t realize he was slower.

    I hate to say it, but I don’t actually believe Albon here. I think he is lying.

    1. Why do you think Albon is lying? The only reason I can think of for Albon lying, would be, if he didn’t see the blue flags and is now trying to hide that. But that is not very likely, considering Albon’s experience. So, what other reason could Albon have for lying?

      Couldn’t it also be, that Albon assessed the situation incorrectly?

      1. @uzsjgb Albon was being shown blue flags at every single marshal post, with at least 16 blue flags shown to him before he finally went off track. You could perhaps miss one or two by accident – but the only way you could miss a blue flag being shown at every single marshal post around the circuit would be if you deliberately ignored them.

        When you look at Albon’s lap times relative to Leclerc, his argument that he would have been quicker and could have pulled away also looks doubtful. On lap 19, Leclerc gained 3.5 seconds on Albon before he ended up getting stuck behind him (and the onboard shows he was right on Albon’s gearbox in those laps), and on the laps recovering after his off, Albon was around 1.4s slower than Leclerc was in free air – that doesn’t suggest to me that he would have pulled away when you look at what Leclerc could do once he was in free air (he was going another 2 seconds a lap faster as soon as Albon was out of the way).

        That said – it also begs the question of why no action was taken against Albon for ignoring so many blue flags, given that normally would have seen him being hit with a penalty.

      2. @uzsjgb
        Yes, more likely than lying, he simply incorrectly assessed speed relatively & thus ignored his blue requirements, & likewise Latifi.

    2. Not sure we need to jump straight to accusing Albon of lying, but he’s self-evidently wrong in his assessment.

  3. 1 of the puzzle pieces why LEC lost that time in just 2 laps I did not see on TV. But how come this RBR buffoon did not get any penalty for not letting past a car that wants to overtake him? I thought it’s a must to make room within few corners if the blue flags are shown. More than sure it costed LEC at least the place lost to VER.

    1. Just watched the unboard of Lec. It’s clear Albon was not faster and could have easily gone straight at the chicane to let him pass. Don’t understand his point if you get a blue flag the rules are clear you move out of the way.

      1. Agree, this is very disappointing from albon, and knowing he’s been a red bull driver, hmmmm, I’m a conspiracy theorist ofc, even though I like red bull.

  4. If Albon had let Leclerc pass – which he was obliged to do – Leclerc would not have been obliged to let him unlap himself back at any point. If Albo had indeed faster faster, he would have to unlap himself by a proper overtaking manoever.

    Albon cost Leclerc time for his own benefit and that’s all it was.

    1. If Albon had indeed been faster*

    2. Exactly, selfish and didn’t respect the rules either.

  5. Martin Elliott
    30th May 2022, 12:53

    Blue flags are not optional. Fixed penalties exist, or did, for ignoring them.

    Did Race Director refer to Stewards, did Stewards investigate. Should have if they are consistent in rules are rules.

    Consistency seems to be getting worse than last season.

    1. True, masi doesn’t look that incompetent any more, just a typical race director.

    2. The stewards can investigate and penalize on their own, so they can’t shift blame to Freitas on this issue. This seems to be just another case of them not being able to handle multiple issues at the same time, and apparently the much discussed “VAR” was pretty pointless as well.

      It’s a shame F1 continues to let a rotating group of amateurs handle these things. Just get one professional set of people there for all races, and give each of them five assistants who can help look into these issues. F1 has plenty of money to solve their poor stewarding, they just don’t care to do so.

  6. I think both Williams drivers should have been penalized in this race. Albon kept Leclerc behind for an entire lap, while Latifi on Sainz for almost 2 sectors. I am really sick of seeing drivers ignore blue flags especially if the slower cars are not fighting for anything.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      30th May 2022, 13:31

      Albon blocked both ferrari drivers. I’m not sure Latifi did.

      1. @thegianthogweed Latifi indeed held up Sainz rather than Albon both, albeit not as long as Albon did Leclerc, but equally past three consecutive light panels.

  7. He was being lapped. Blue flags were waiving.he should be penalized in tje next race for failing to move over fast enough. soo tired of back markers affecting the front runners. Stewards need to be more stern with this. Just because he went off amd retired later is not enough.he should atill be penalized.

  8. I don’t know why you guys are so confused about Albon behavior. He’s a Red Bull driver.

    1. @Miane He’s fully Williams-contracted with the only RB-related reference being his personal sponsor Krating Daeng, RB’s Thai division, so people should stop putting weight on this trivial aspect.
      I’m seemingly the only one who paid attention to what was about his contractual situation back in last September when he got announced & or who hasn’t forgotten.

  9. lol. Unbelievable excuse. You’re a backmarker! You don’t get to chose! F1 has become such a joke.

  10. I should’ve posted this sooner, but deciding when to obey blues & when to ignore them isn’t up to drivers, & the same with Latifi.
    Even more baffling is neither getting penalized despite passing three light panels showing blue & not letting by at the earliest opportunity as per the ruling.

    1. Yeah @jerejj, this article implies Albon knowingly ignored blue flags in the apparent mistaken believe that despite evidence up to that point he was faster than Leclerc. That seems like a prime case of what blue flags are meant to address, so it is really unclear why the stewards didn’t penalize him for it (was he already out of it by the time they got to it? Maybe add a few points to his register then?).

      1. up to that point, and also subsequent data.

      2. Albon is a RedBull driver ;) so there’s that too

  11. Albon is just a stamped ass of RBR. Cheating half-blood bostord.

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