When the usual heroes and front-line stars continue to make headlines, as per the norm, then regardless of what might the unsung do, they’ll never really get much attention. And that was the narrative of the 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix qualifying, held on Saturday, September 12, 2020, where superman and pole-master Lewis Hamilton bagged yet another pole in yet another Mercedes 1-2.
In so doing, Hamilton conquered his 95th pole position in Formula 1, let that sink in! It was also his 7th this year and now, his first at Tuscany. But was his stellar qualifying run and Bottas and Verstappen’s strong P2 and P3, respectively, the only talking points from Mugello?
Another driver, noted for his outright honesty and simplicity, exemplified by a soft boyish voice, managed to place his Red Bull right behind the imposing Max Verstappen.
In so doing, this Thai-British driver also grabbed his career-best P4, a position which he had only once previously achieved at the highest annals of racing.
The 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix, the mega slugfest awaiting us on Sunday, is one of the most important races for Alex Albon. And frankly speaking it’s not very difficult to understand why.
For starters, take the Monza qualifying held just a week back, for example. Alex Albon, struggling to put a commanding flying lap on quali-day on Saturday, not once but twice managed to go over the track limits, in the approach to the final turn, at around Parabolica.
Resultantly, lacking the right pace and grip needed to nail a belter of a lap, Albo would commence the 53-lap challenge from ninth on the grid. Meanwhile, teammate Max Verstappen, despite not experiencing usual qualifying consistency, was stacked on fifth, and hence, in a much better position than the Red Bull newcomer.
Moreover, never before in 2020 has Albon begun any race from the second row. But on Sunday, as he faces the rear of his teammate’s Red Bull, the driver who’s not entered more than 30 Grands Prix, would know it’s his chance to go and get some fine points.
Not only since he really needs to right all the wrongs; some of which have seen him struggle for race pace in events such as Spain and round-one at Great Britain, held at Silverstone.
In more races than he would’ve liked, Albon sort of succumbs to early pressure at the start which sees him fall further down from where he beings. And then, using some great overtaking manoeuvres, of which there’s absolutely no doubt, the youngster manages to rise back into points again.
Something that happened at Barcelona, where he was fighting both McLarens and Renaults; finishing ahead of the Alpha Tauri and McLaren (of Lando Norris) eventually. Something that also happened at Monza, where, it was only by virtue of brilliant defending from Lewis Hamilton- one of the most unsung moments of the thriller- that Albon made headlines in denying the ace the relative comfort of usurping his Red Bull.
At Monza, when it was a great opportunity to stand up and get noticed, Albon could only manage some dogfigths at the back of the midfield, in emerging no better than P15.
Was that an opportunity lost? Well, how could there be a doubt about that, since teammate Max Verstappen had already retired, even before the race could begin again, post the red-flag period!
So as the talented Albon, noted for some daring overtakes especially in that late charge through the field at the 70th anniversary Grand Prix, begins from fourth at Mugello, he would know what’s at stake! May the best happen to the determined driver who, thus far, hasn’t really performed to the peak of his powers.