In Brazil last year, Albon was on course for his first podium when an overly optimistic Hamilton lunged up the inside and spun him down the order.
Two races later it looked as though Albon was on for redemption. On fresh soft tyres and chasing two ailing Mercedes, he not only looked on course for a podium, but even the win. He didn’t waste any time in attacking and it looked like he’d put a beautiful move around the outside of Hamilton, only for the same thing to happen: Hamilton tagged his rear wheel, Albon spun, and the chance of a win was gone.
Unsurprisingly, he was absolutely distraught after the race. Speaking to Sky F1, he said:
“I’ve gotta be careful what I say… I really felt like we could have won that race. I think Mercedes had the outright pace today but the guys did a great job with strategy and when I did the pit stop I thought ‘where are we on track?’ and I didn’t really know what was going on.
“As it all played out it looked really strong for us, basically they were on the hard tyres and the first five laps were when I was going to do the overtakes. I was confident, the car was feeling good, and… yeah. It is what it is.”
“I won’t say it hurts more, but I felt like Brazil was a bit more 50/50 and this one… I felt like I did the move already. I was kind of already focused on Bottas in front. It was so late, the contact.
“There’s always a risk of overtaking on the outside but I gave as much space as I really could, I was right on the edge. I knew as long as I gave him all the space that I can give him, it’s up to him if he wants to crash or not. So yeah.”
Albon said he’d need to cool off before speaking to Hamilton, while Christian Horner later said he hoped Hamilton would come and apologise.
Like in Brazil, Hamilton was given a five-second penalty for hitting Albon which, like in Brazil, cost him a podium which, like in Brazil, have a McLaren driver their maiden F1 podium – this time to Lando Norris. Hamilton has also been given two penalty points on his licence for the collision.
None of this will be of comfort to Albon, who could easily have won the race today. Then again, his car failed with a few laps to go. Whether that would have happened without the contact and the spin we’ll never know. Either way, Albon deserved a lot more than he got.