During the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, Alex Albon’s last-lap pitstop nearly went wrong as Williams tried a different strategy.
During the final stages of the Australian Grand Prix, security was forced to prohibit bystanders from walking onto a live pit lane, according to frightening footage. As Alex Albon makes his way out of the pits, a security marshal can be seen pointing at his car.
Albon had stretched his stay on the track till the final lap before swapping to tenth place and one championship point.
Fans, on the other hand, had already made their way to the pit lane exit, hoping to get onto the track at the conclusion of the race. This is now standard practise at Formula One events to add to the excitement during the podium celebrations.
To avoid the penalty for not stopping, Alex Albon made a late pit stop. Initially, the driver intended to finish the race without stopping. The Williams driver, though, took the decision with the race penalties in mind. Despite the fact that the driver had no intention of going for the quickest lap, the tyre changes were required by F1 rules and regulations.
Albon began the race on hard tyres in attempt to extend his racing time. Due to a grid penalty, the former Red Bull driver was forced to start at the back of the field. Given his pace and position, Alexander could have finished the race in either P7 or P8 if he hadn’t pitted.
Even though pitting on the final lap is uncommon, failure to halt the car may have resulted in huge incidents, with fans injured. Albon may also have been forced to halt at the end of the pit lane, putting him out of contention.
Following the release of the video, an ex-F1 engineer took to Twitter to criticise officials. No one should be “messing around” in the pits, according to EngineMode11, who claims to be a six-year ex-F1 Senior Systems engineer.
“So it seems before the race ended they were already letting people into the pit-lane, forgetting that Albon hadn’t stopped yet. I hate to see this, you really don’t want to be messing around in an active pit lane,” he said.
On Reddit, fans slammed the act, with many expressing concerns about the incident’s safety.
@Phonicparty said: “This seems like the kind of thing that’s probably been happening for years under the clearly mistaken assumption that nobody would be coming back out of the pits if they went in that late in the race.”
@Silentalarm_ added: “This is a quite genuine concern that needs to be addressed.”
A spectator at the event said that stewards were preparing to close the pit lane before the Williams driver had completed his stop.
@mdr279 said: “I was watching this from the stands and couldn’t believe it. It was like management had no idea Albon was still yet to stop.
“I’m pretty sure a guy had already put the Heineken barriers (that separate the team and the podium drivers) across the pit lane and had to remove them when Albon came in. Genuinely annoyed me to see this.”
The former Red Bull driver, however, finished the race in P10 and earned a point. This was the driver’s and his team Williams Racing’s first point of the year in 2022. Albon is currently at P16 in the driver standings after three races and a single point.
As a result of Nicholas Latifi’s failure to score a point, Williams now sits in P9 in the Constructor’s Championship, ahead of Aston Martin. It’ll be intriguing to see if the Thai-British driver and his team can make additional amends when F1 returns to Italy.