Alex Albon was dropped to the back of the grid for the Australian Grand Prix because there was not enough fuel in his Williams to provide a test sample after Saturday qualifying, officials said.
The F1 website reported that Albon “stopped out on track after dropping out of Q1” and that Williams “were later unable to provide the required 1.0-litre fuel sample to the FIA.” Albon finished with the 16th best time in the first qualifying run, too slow to progress to the last two sessions.
He was already facing a three-place grid penalty for his crash with Lance Stroll in the previous race in Saudi Arabia.
That meant the decision to scrub out the time he recorded effectively cost him just one grid place.
“The stewards therefore disqualified the Thai driver from the results of qualifying – although he will be allowed to start Sunday’s race,” said the website.
The penalty also lifted Stroll out of last place on the grid. After qualifying last, the Canadian was then handed a three-place penalty for colliding with the other Williams, driven by Nicholas Latifi, on Saturday.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc starts on pole after a blistering lap at the death of a chaotic qualifying session on Saturday.
Leclerc has often struggled in Mlebourne so the new look track will suit him well.
Albert Park has undergone its most significant changes since it first hosted a race in 1996, with the track fully resurfaced.
Seven corners have been modified and two removed this year, reducing the number of turns and offering better overtaking opportunities.
Leclerc said it remained a tough configuration.
“To be honest I was also struggling on the previous layout. I’ve always struggled with these type of corners that are not really 90 degrees,” he said.
“Always struggling with my driving style here, but I think it’s also a general thing with all the drivers. It’s a very tricky track, a very challenging track.” Making it even more difficult was the setting sun late in qualifying, which hindered drivers’ visibility.
Leclerc was heard asking Ferrari to give him a new helmet fitted with “the darkest visor you have” as qualifying ran some 30 minutes deeper into the evening due to red flag incidents.
“It was definitely extremely tricky,” he said.
AN ISSUE FOR DRIVERS
By Rebecca Williams
The fading sun in today’s Australian Grand Prix could prove to be an issue for drivers after Formula One stars complained about the late-afternoon glare during qualifying.
Pole sitter Charles Leclerc and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez both said the sun was an issue for them during qualifying on Saturday.
Qualifying was held between 4- 5pm on Saturday with today’s race running from 3-5pm on another sunny day in Melbourne.
Speaking after claiming his second pole for the year, Leclerc admitted he had battled with the glare.
“It’s a very tricky track, a very challenging track for drivers. And it was even tricker with the sun,” the Ferrari star and championship leader said.
“The sun in Q2, we just couldn’t see anything.
“In Q3 a little better, on the first run (it) was good, (the) second run wasn’t. It was a very tricky session.”
Perez, who will start third on the grid behind teammate Max Verstappen, also said he had to
“I think the biggest thing was the sun,” Perez said.
“It was coming down and then getting darker. So, we were playing with the visors a lot on my first Q3, run one.
“It was completely dark and there was no sun, so I went back and then there was a lot of sun.
“So (I) didn’t get it right (with) the visor.”
This year’s Australian Grand Prix is being held later in the year than normal, following the end of day-light savings, after the race lost its customary home at the start of the calendar.
HOW THEY START