Alex Albon chimes in on Japanese GP debate

Alex Albon retired from the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix on the opening lap following a technical issue.

Alex Albon believes the race director was wrong for starting the Japanese Grand Prix in what were incredibly challenging conditions, both because of the lack of grip and the clear lack of visibility.

The race somewhat astonishingly started on time, whilst the intensity of the rain continued to increase.

Given the conditions, the opening corner was actually surprisingly clean, with only Sebastian Vettel having spun at Turn One.

Drivers tiptoed their way around the first and second sector whilst running in single file, with overtaking being near impossible due to the sheer volume of the spray being flicked up into the air.

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Albon, who started P16, said that he “couldn’t see more than 10 metres around me”, with the Thai driver going on to liken himself to a “pinball” after driving across the circuit just to find the edges of the Suzuka International Racing Course.

The Williams driver actually pulled off the circuit at Turn 12 on the opening lap, following an apparent technical issue.

Albon told his team on the radio that something wasn’t right with the engine, but it’s unknown yet what the true reason for his sudden retirement was.

Whilst he only completed 12 corners, he highlighted them as the “worst” of his career.

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“That was the worst conditions I’ve experienced in my racing career,” he said.

“I’m very surprised that we went to the start.

“I think everyone was keen to get the race started. I don’t think we should have started the race.”

He did collide with Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, who was in a similar situation to the Williams driver, in that they were both just trying to figure out where they were and what was around them.

It was clear that Albon and a number of the drivers were shaken up by the conditions, which saw the race red-flagged on the second lap due to Carlos Sainz crashing and the sudden intensity of the rain.

Albon reiterated that he quite literally “couldn’t see anything”, in conditions he labelled as “quite scary”.

“I couldn’t see anything in front of me, I was looking in the corner of my eye, seeing where the white lines were, knowing that the track was somewhere in front of me but not being able to tell,” Albon said.

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“I was kind of like a pinball just going from track edge to track edge, trying to keep the car on the track and looking for a sign, a fence, something, a braking marker to kind of understand where I was on the circuit.

“I’ve had that experience before in junior levels, but I’ve never had it that bad.

“Quite scary and I’m very thankful nobody got injured.”