Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Sochi Autodrom, 2020

Albon ‘confused’ by 1.1 second gap to Verstappen in qualifying

2020 Russian Grand Prix

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Alexander Albon said he has “some work to do” after qualifying almost a second slower than his team mate at Sochi Autodrom.

Max Verstappen produced a surprising lap to take second on the grid and split the Mercedes drivers at the end of qualifying. But Albon was 1.141 seconds slower than his team mate and will start from 10th on the grid.

Asked where he wasn’t able to get closer to his team mate’s pace at the end of the session, Albon said “I’m not too sure to be honest.

“I’m just trying to look at it right now. It didn’t feel terrible in Q1 and Q2, it just seemed like people around made a jump and I didn’t really have it. It didn’t feel like I had much left to be honest.

“So a little bit of head-scratching going on because the laps I did didn’t feel terrible. Of course, there are still places, a couple of tenths to find here and there. But obviously the gap is quite big so it’s a bit confusing and [there’s] some work to do.”

Albon said the changing weather conditions between final practice and qualifying made it harder to produce a quick time.

“The wind changed quite a lot from final practice to qualifying. There was that storm that was coming in and it basically spun the wind 180 degrees.”

“I’d say by Q2 everyone’s most probably on it in terms of adapting from how the wind is,” he added. “Obviously these cars are hyper-sensitive to wind, but by Q2 it was more or less all all done.

“But it was tricky out there. Obviously the main thing for me, or I’m sure for everyone, is this track is extremely thermal. Because the corners are so close to each other, the track itself is very smooth but very prone to overheating with the tyre compounds we have. It’s kind of like a quali lap where you where you drive just really on the limit without sliding the tyres. And that’s the tricky part.

“Obviously, if you have a little snap early in the lap, you pay the consequence the whole way through. So it’s one of those tricky circuits where the lap can either fall away very quickly or you hook it up.”

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2020 Russian Grand Prix

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
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24 comments on “Albon ‘confused’ by 1.1 second gap to Verstappen in qualifying”

  1. I don’t think Gasly can do any better than Albon, but I feel certain he will be given the chance to try.

    1. But he kinda already did way better this year on numerous occasions to be honest, didn’t he? Even without considering his victory. And I don’t really like Gasly, I would really prefer to see Albon doing great there at RB…

  2. Bottas and Albon should form their own team. Name it ‘Confused and Slow’ F1 Racing Team.

    1. Pretty unfair to Bottas. Up until this race Bottas was an average 2 tenths behind Ham while Albon was already 5 tenths behind Verstappen. Bottas is hanging on with one of the qualifyers in the past years, Albon is anihilated.

    2. Aww, that’s not nice… x)

  3. The Red Bull has been easily the second fastest car on the grid this season but it is a shame about the number 2 driver. Max has no support against the Mercs.

  4. Well some of us are confused why Albon is still in the team…..

  5. Some were confused why Gasly was in the team one year ago… I think this proves the issue is not with the driver, but with the team… I wish to see Gasly in a top team soon, he clearly deserves it. And I don’t think Albon deserved to be killed… Horner and Marko have to work harder to solve the issue, instead of speaking to media and netflix

    1. They needed to bite the bullet after Gasly and hire someone with experience for a couple of years, but they wanted to stick to their driver programme. Perez would still be a good fit their next season I believe, but I can’t see it happening because it would mean Marko admitting he got something wrong.
      I do feel for Alex because he was promoted far too early because of the above.

      1. Marko also answers to a higher level if they want a Perez then Perez sit next to Max. But they will give him the season to improve.

    2. It certainly is the team. They need to put a better driver in the 2nd car!

  6. His position doesn’t seem to be at risk despite these dreadful results compared to Verstappen, for some reason.

    1. Cause there’s no one close to verstappen in the red bull academy, all worthy f1 drivers but not worthy of a top team, and for some reason they are stubborn and don’t take people from outside, I believe perez would be a good upgrade for the number 2 seat.

      1. He hasn’t been in F1 that long to be honest. I can still see it being lack of experience. But yeah, he shouldn’t be so far away even then… If you got a really talented guy, he’ll be there with Verstappen fpr sure. But most drivers are simply good at what they do, they are not at level with the best. Verstappen is a Best, at least that’s what he looks like to me so far.

        1. Oops, was a reply for Edvaldo :) But yeah I agree @esploratore

  7. I think he will stay for the rest of the season at Red Bull. I don’t want to see another demotion…ever again.

    1. @Dave He should be safe until at least the end of the season, but next season is another matter.

  8. Is Perez On the way?

    Or even better Kimi? Now that would be a story 🙏🙂😂

  9. I’d be doing my best to get Russell off Mercedes. To think they let Ricciardo and Sainz slip from their stable due to favouring Verstappen.

    1. This is the irony: they had fast and experienced drivers they let go to be sure to retain Verstappen. And now they refused to seek outside their young driver program.
      It will be interesting to see how Red Bull get out of this situation.

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