Published: Sun, April 14, 2019
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Alexander Albon survives stunning crash in Chinese practice

Alexander Albon survives stunning crash in Chinese practice

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel was third fastest, 0.301secs off the pace, and just 0.017secs quicker than team-mate Charles Leclerc. Red Bull's Max Verstappen finished fifth.

Red Bull looked to have a chance to challenge the Ferraris after the first runs, when Verstappen split Vettel and Leclerc, but a misjudgement meant neither vehicle made it around to start the final laps before the chequered flag fell.

Albon sat still for an agonizing moment before apologizing to his team over the radio.

"The lap was OK, not completely how I wanted".

Asked if Mercedes would try to use that strength to run and hide, Silver Arrows chief Toto Wolff said: "That's exactly what we want to do!"

The line actually was fine, just a bit too much throttle. Renault's Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hülkenberg were in seventh and eighth, in front of the two Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean.

Further down the field, it was a sobering day for McLaren, as Carlos Sainz and British rookie Lando Norris could manage only 14th and 15th places, a blow after their positive start to the season.

Although he will have to start from the pit lane, Albon is hopeful of being able to recover through the field after Toro Rosso showed impressive race performance on Friday afternoon.

Alexander Albon has explained the circumstances which lead to his crash in the third free practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix, admitting full responsibility for the incident which cost him his place in qualifying on Saturday, meaning he will start from the back on the grid. "It has been a good start of the year for me personally and for us as a team, I feel confident". More angry and disappointed than anything else. "It was a big crash, it was a silly one as well". We had a good chance of being in Q3. "As a result of the accident, we are changing the PU and sending the one that was in the vehicle at the time of the crash back to Sakura for a full check".

Out of the three weekends so far in 2019, this is Mercedes' second pole position and Bottas' first of the season.

Albon's Toro Rosso vehicle hit the wall on the final turn as fans sat in silence until with only his still head visible in the cockpit.

"Valtteri was strong all weekend long and put in some good laps in Qualifying".

"The vehicle hasn't improved, I was struggling with the auto through the weekend, even into Q2", he said. Big congratulations to Valtteri. Bottas however has had the best of it overall across the weekend. I have been struggling and chipping away at it.

"To be as close as we are at the end is fantastic".

Vettel's best effort was also compromised by an error. "We had a good session". I think I was a little bit too greedy.

Ferrari had looked strong and their straightline speed is still highly impressive but Mercedes had a definitive edge through the turns that dominate sector two.

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