Albon feels ‘no need to panic’ over gap to Verstappen
Alex Albon says the current gap in performance between himself and Red Bull team mate Max Verstappen is not a cause for panic, the British-Thai racer attributing the difference to his imperfect management of tyres.
Verstappen was sidelined early in the Austrian Grand Prix by a technical issue while running second behind leader Valtteri Bottas
A week later at the Red Bull Ring, the Dutchman finished third behind the dominant Mercedes duo, but well clear of Albon who clocked in fourth after losing significant ground to his teammate in the first half of the race.
Red Bull puzzled by Albon struggles in ‘race of two halves’
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner called Albon’s Styrian Grand Prix “a race of two halves”, hinting at his driver’s difficulties in coping with high fuel loads.
“It was one kind of poor start to the race in race two and that was more or less the main issue,” said Albon ahead of this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix. “So I don’t think there needs to be a panic.
“It’s just managing the tyres a bit better and knowing when to push, when not to push. That’s more or less it at the moment.
“I think once I get a bit more comfortable with the car the pace will come as well.
“I’m improving each time. I think coming here we have a much better understanding of the car, the car’s feeling good, it’s just about being up there and being consistent with it.”
Horner confirmed that a tyre issue had weighed on Albon’s performance in the first half of last week’s race.
“During his first stint on the soft tyre, we were concerned about potential blistering on the front right,” he said. “So he was managing his pace to ensure he was able to achieve the target lap for his pit stop.
“This meant he gave away significant pace to the cars ahead, but as soon as he changed to the medium compound, he was back on pace.
“If you look at the analysis, Alex was within a tenth of Bottas, who was chasing Max. He also did a very good job in holding off a very fast Sergio Perez at the end of the race.
“He’s a really bright lad, he thinks about his racing,” Horner added.
“And he’s working it out and I think that we need to be patient with him and we’ll put an arm around his shoulder and make sure he feels he’s got the support which he absolutely has.”
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