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Old 09 Sep 2019, 10:52 am
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Default Honda Racing: Albon, Verstappen Lead Way for Honda in Italian GP

This release contains: 1 Related Document, 3 Photos

  • Both Red Bull drivers earn points-paying finishes at Monza

  • Rookie Alex Albon earns back-to-back top-six results

  • Max Verstappen overcomes first-lap contact to gain 11 spots


The Honda-powered Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Formula 1 machines had an eventful Sunday at Monza powering through contact and overcoming time penalties to score a pair of points-paying finishes in the Italian Grand Prix.


Rookie Alex Albon continued to make the most of his new ride, finishing sixth in his second race after his call-up to the Red Bull car, while Max Verstappen made up 11 positions from his starting spot to place eighth. Toro Rosso Honda's Pierre Gasly narrowly missed a third straight top-10 result with an 11th-place finish while his teammate Daniil Kvyat retired due to an oil leak near the race's halfway mark.


The sparks started flying on the first turn of the race when Verstappen, who along with Gasly started at the back of the field after excess engine penalties, had contact with Sergio Perez, breaking a front wing and forcing him to Pit Lane for a replacement.


Farther ahead, Albon had dropped back to ninth after being squeezed into the gravel while fighting Carlos Sainz for sixth on the opening lap. The young Thai driver fought back immediately but earned a five-second time penalty from the stewards for driving in the grass during a pass of Kevin Magnussen, which he served during his first pit stop.


Gasly suffered a similar fate when Lance Stroll went off course after contact with Sebastien Vettel and came back on track in front of the Frenchman, forcing Gasly to take evasive action into the gravel, costing him a handful of positions.


The early stop to repair Verstappen's damage ended up being a blessing in disguise as he came out of the pits in clean air and used the new Spec 4 engine to great advantage as he was able to turn fast laps and climb back into the top 10. The Dutchman lost a couple of the spots gained when a virtual safety car period came out just after his final pit stop, forcing him to again overtake some rivals that he had previously passed, but he was able to salvage four championship points to remain in third place in the season standings.


Toro Rosso's Gasly remains in sixth in the points after 14 races while Albon climbed to ninth, just ahead of Kvyat as all four Honda-powered drivers remained in the top 10 in the championship standings.


Formula 1 has this coming weekend off before heading to Asia for back-to-back races in Singapore and Russia September 22 and 29.


Toyoharu Tanabe
Technical Director, Honda F1
"Today's race was difficult for us, with some unfortunate incidents and a penalty for Albon, who lost some places after the incident with Sainz in the early stages. He did well to make up some places after this and finish sixth. Verstappen started from the back of the grid, having taken the penalties for fitting our Spec 4 PU (Power Unit), but did a good job to fight back after pitting for a new nose early on. Gasly also started from the back of the grid with PU change penalties. He moved up a few places, but then, after he was pushed off the track by Stroll, he dropped back down the order and finished just outside the points. As for Kvyat, he had to retire the car at the side of the track and currently, along with the Toro Rosso engineers, we are investigating the exact nature and location of an oil leak. We still acquired plenty of data from running all four cars with our Spec 4 PU for the first time, which will be useful as we prepare for Singapore."


Max Verstappen
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
Start 19th, Finish: 8th
"I got front wing damage under breaking into Turn 1 as everyone slowed up and I clipped Sergio's rear tire. We then pitted for a new front wing and the race was still on as I had really good pace in clean air. I managed to pass quite a few cars but we got unlucky with the virtual safety car as it came out the lap after I pitted and three or four cars which I had already overtaken were back in front of me. I passed them all again but it was pretty painful on my tires and then at the end I got stuck behind Perez for the second time in the race. I just couldn't get past him as he was so quick on the straights. We have made some steps forward with the pace of the power unit but we will of course keep working hard to improve even further. With what happened at Turn 1 coming through to eighth isn't too bad and these things are always more likely to happen when you start at the back. The last two races were always going to be difficult for us and now I'm looking forward to having a more normal race weekend and starting closer to the front."


Alex Albon
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
Start: 8th, Finish: 6th
"There were positives for me even though the race didn't go as planned. It isn't the easiest track for us and we had quite an unlucky weekend in the qualifying. I didn't have a great start and had to fight my way back though the field. Unfortunately, we didn't have the pace on the straights to overtake so I had to do my maneuvers on the corners. That resulted in a lot of side by side action and at one point I just lost a bit too much grip going that wide so it started to get messy. I had a few offs and took a five second penalty. However, my race pace is getting better with the car and I feel I have made a good step up from Spa so personally speaking I am happy. Hopefully Singapore will be better for me as there will be more downforce and more corners. I think there is a lot more to come and I'm feeling more competitive."


Daniil Kvyat
Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda
Start: 12th, Finish: NC  
"It was shaping up to be an amazing race today, we were fighting Red Bull Racing at the time of my retirement, so good points were on the table for us. However, this is our sport unfortunately, and sometimes you can do a great job but something in the car gives up and you have to pull over. I was putting in the same lap times with those around me and was on fresher tires, so I was confident I could finish well inside the top 10. It's a big shame to miss out on valuable points, but we have been having quite a few strong Sundays lately, so we know we can fight for good results. Let's think of Singapore now."


Pierre Gasly
Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda
Start: 17th, Finish: 11th
"Starting from P17 we knew we had a tough race ahead of us. It was quite an eventful day, we had a really good start and ended the first laps in 13th position. Things were looking pretty good until Stroll went off the track and re-joined just as I was passing, so I had to avoid him by going into the gravel and lost two positions and a lot of time. It cost us at the end of the race, as we finished only three seconds from P9. It wasn't ideal, but I think we showed some good performance all weekend and we had the pace to finish in the points starting from the back of the grid. I'm looking forward to a clean weekend in Singapore without any penalties to be able to extract the most I can there."


 


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