Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020

Albon: We couldn’t have done much better than sixth

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Alexander Albon doubts he could have improved much on his sixth-place finish in the Sakhir Grand Prix, and was surprised to see it won by a driver he spent much of the race battling with.

What they say

Albon and team mate Max Verstappen complained about understeer and instability on their cars during free practice, which Albon said was a hindrance during the race:

We were behind Sergio for most of that race and then, I don’t understand quite how it unfolded, but he ended up winning the race and we finished sixth.

It was just tricky because the configuration we had, downforce-wise, was very hard to race with. We were good in the corners on sector two where you can’t do anything. Then obviously for sector one and sector three, it was difficult, so I was kind of doing these dive bombs into turn one to overtake cars, which made it difficult.

I don’t know. I’m sure we could’ve done a bit better. But sixth… I don’t think we could’ve done much, much better than we did.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

George Russell has said he’s going to try and walk away from today’s lost opportunities grateful for being able to demonstrate what he can do with the one he had – and BasCB agrees:

Funny how everybody feels gutted for Russell. I really don’t. I feel incredibly happy that he got to show what he has to offer. And it made me think about how maybe it really would be nice to see Hamilton getting pushed by a driver who might be able to challenge his position. That would be great for the sport.

Russel did everything right that he had any influence over in this race. He showed pace, he had a good start, he showed he can manage his tyres well enough to increase the gap, he went well through traffic, he made a good move to get past Bottas fast to make sure he still had a chance at the win (before that puncture). And in the end he did set the fastest lap and got into the top 10 to finally claim those points.

Also, now Mercedes really owe him one. That will come in handy. And I think the guys in the garage will bond with him very well over this as well. Sure, would have been a fairytale to win right out of the box. But he showed he has the goods anyway. And there are surely many more opportunities to come for George.

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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  • 58 comments on “Albon: We couldn’t have done much better than sixth”

    1. Albon is probably right. In the second best car 6th is probably the best he can do. It shows just how bad he is when 6th was all he could manage after both Mercedes have issues and Verstappen and Leclerc both DNF. So that’s basically P10. In a Red Bull… I hope RedBull hire Perez for next season. He’s had podiums on merit in a slower car.

      1. Albon is the nicest guy on the grid, and I like his racing spirit. However, Perez has more than earned that RB seat for next year. It is better for Albon to drive next season alongside Gasly. This is the best scenario for RB, Perez, and Albon.

        1. I like Albon but this is about driving the wheels off the car and bring home the goods, way more than is expected everytime, I think he has summit his performance, but hey he had a red-bull drive for a while and some money !

          farewell and spend wisely

        2. @Applebook Alpha Tauri isn’t an option as Tsunoda is set to get the second drive there, so Red Bull Racing or nothing for Albon concerning racing in F1 next season.

        3. Albon’s a nice guy, but today and on pace and merit it could realistically be: Red Bull; Verstappen, Perez. Alpha Tauri; Gasly, Tsunoda.
          To me, Albon out the equation.

      2. 100% agree, that was probably the best he could do with one of the fastest cars on the grid while the only 3 faster cars retired. If he is still driving for Red Bull next year then Horner needs to go.

        1. @slowmo though it’s obviously not Horner’s decision. Same goes for Szafnauer or Steiner, they don’t really have the choice.

      3. AllTheCoolNamesWereTaken
        7th December 2020, 0:43

        Come on now, go easy on Albon. The five guys in front of him were all driving F1.5 machinery, so technically he was the highest-classified F1 driver tonight.

        (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

        1. I think he’s just gone really, and it sounds like he knows it himself. Shame, I don’t think you’re expected to beat Max in that seat, but like said, he was essentially 10th in a car that many thought Max had a chance of winning in. I can’t imagine how he felt when he found out Checo had won.

          1. I’m so afraid albon is staying at red bull, that’s like the worst that could happen to f1.

            1. Well, next to vettel taking perez’s seat, if perez replaces albon though, stroll sr. is forgiven.

            2. why ? one reason why ? his daddy own red-bull ?

      4. Albon isn’t driving the second fastest car max is

        1. @carlosmedrano
          You mean: Max makes the 4th fastest car looks like the third fastest car.

          Clueless and frustrated clown on the internet: Max blablabla.
          Most succesfull teamboss ever: “How can I put it? He is driving better than what his car is actually capable of.

          How does being such a sad l0$er feel?

        2. Wouldn’t it be a lot easier for Red Bull (not to mention Marko) if Albon started to deliver solid results? To insuate there is a car difference in that context is a bit far fetched don’t you think @carlosmedrano ?

      5. I think he benefited from the safety car, as I think 2 other drivers were ahead of him and had just pit before the safety car came out.

      6. I don’t really think Albon is right at all though. Sure, he was behind Perez for a decent amount of laps, but that was only after Perez had passed a ton of cars to get from the back of the grid to mid grid and had rather easily passed Albon. Before leaving Albon behind and languishing quite far behind until the Mercs dropping away helped Albon get to p6.

    2. I’m happy for Ocon too. I knew he can do better than what his results show this season. He was very impressive in Force India. He should be more competitive next season unless Alonso swallows him.

      1. oohh ALO will ….. and spit up or down

    3. How did Albon restart in 11th after being right behind Perez? Did he stop for tires? If so that was super foolish given how that car can’t power out of a DRS train.

      1. After Lap 53: 1.Russel 2.Bottas 3.Sainz 4.Kvyat 5.Ricciardo 6.Ocon 7.Stroll 8.Perez 9.Albon;
        Lap 54-56: Kvyat, Sainz, Ricciardo have a pit stop;
        Lap 57-58: Perez passes Stroll and Ocon;
        Lap 59: Perez is 3rd!;
        Lap 63: Albon have a pit stop.

        1. didn’t make the overcut work

    4. I don’t know who will take the seat at RB next yr, Perez doesn’t seem all that confidant and Albon seems unable to step up. Is the Hulk still in the picture?
      RIP John Harvey

      1. I have a hard time believing they would pick the Hulk over Perez, even before today. Maybe Perez doesn’t seem confident because RB are genuinely waiting until the last round to make a decision.

        1. I think they don’t want to drop Albon completely. Still Albon isn’t good enough for that second RB and it would make sense to sign Perez. Then they will face a problem between Albon and Tsunoda for the second AT seat. Albon has shown that he can drive that car well enough to earn a seat. Still Tsunoda is pushed by Honda and has shown that he deserves a chance in F1.

          Or Marko and co. could do the same as Monisha Kaltenborn a few years back and come to a race with 5 drivers..

      2. Well guess what Merc may fancy Perez after all !

        1. Hamilton and Perez at Mercedes will be like Senna Prost in the McLaren MP 4/4.

          1. So by your estimation Perez is better than Rosberg?

    5. Maybe I missed something, but why is Deletraz having a swipe at Haas? Both Schumacher and Marzipan (admittedly not by much) have better results, never mind who’s dad has the better name or more money.

      1. I think the swipe is Fittipaldi in the Haas seat to end the session. (Mind you, I don’t know Super License status).

        1. @ykiki He’s safe on the super license side.

    6. All the talk about Albon, and as Monty P. would say … The end is nigh.
      But no chatter about Vettel who hasn’t done much in all of 2020 apart from a well earned (and lucky) result in Turkey.
      If Vettel doesn’t show some flash in 2021, as in prior seasons, Checo may have a shot at Aston M. yet again.
      COTD … Agreed. GR is owed a BIG one from MB. Hope they get to do it again next week.

      1. Nah, Seb has been hired as a brand ambassador for AM. The driving part is a minor role and he doesn’t have to deliver as a driver. They’re keeping him for a few years to establish him as part of the AM family and then retire him.

        1. this ^^

    7. I absolutely agree with him! It’s a good result for Alpha Tauri though!

      Jokes aside… Red bull just have to take Perez. No questions asked.

      1. I don’t have a very good feeling with Perez, or didn’t have, don’t know why. Don’t know if he fits in with Red Bull..

        But wow, he really has shown how to perform, get the most out of it. My mind is changed: Perez deserves it!

        1. Not sure now. Will Buxton seems pretty confident of some good news for Perez in the next few days.

    8. Albon couldn’t have done better. Can’t say what Max could have done.
      I think he like Bottas is having enough rope at the moment.

    9. @bascb Is absolutely correct. As a job interview, that was about the best Russell could have hoped for. He had everything thrown at him and performed remarkably in every circumstance. The only thing he didn’t have to deal with was rain. Mercedes are in no doubt now how he would react in just about any circumstance, they now know (as we all do) that he will react incredibly well. It was a fantastic performance.

      So fantastic in fact that, as someone who has been a believer in Vatteri Bottas since I watched him trackside in FP1 at Abu Dhabi in 2012 and was incredibly impressed by how committed he was to turn 1 – only Hamilton was anything like as committed, I am now incredibly worried. Russell comprehensively had Bottas’ number in the race. He out-dragged him at the start, managed the pace well and looked in control (though Bottas was chipping away at the gap before the fated pitstop). Bottas is going to have to have a blinder of a 2021 season to justify his continued presence in the team.

      1. I don’t get how Bottas still has his 2021 seat. George made him look so pedestrian. Bottas barely scraped pole from a guy who had basically never driven the car before and didn’t know all the settings, and could barely fit inside the cockpit. In the race at every opportunity Russell excelled and Bottas floundered. Off the start, Bottas went backwards, on the first restart after the safety car, he was almost caught by a Mclaren, after the bodged pitstops Russell immediately made up places, whilst Bottas ambled around on the wrong tires going nowhere. Until his puncture Russell lead like an experienced champ, he managed his tires well and controlled the race.

        This season Bottas has been average at best. Realistically by half way through the season we all knew he didn’t have a hope of challenging for the championship. Being Lewis’ teammate has been brutal for Bottas, he has lost that consistency he had in Williams and he’s even lost the quali pace he had last year. It’s sad to watch him go backwards like this. At least in a new team he could get out of Lewis’ shadow and get back to being that driver who impressed so much at Williams.

        Come on Merc, get Russell into that car for 2021, it’s such a waste of talent watching him dominate his team mate in a Williams, he could be challenging Lewis, learning from him to be the next multi-world champion.

      2. @geemac Thinking about it more, perhaps seeing a team-backed third driver come in and demonstrate a high level of performance is what Bottas needs to find another gear.

        Upto now, perhaps subconsciously he knew that as long as he played a solid supporting role (is help win WCC and help Lewis for WDC) his seat was never in real danger and he would be continue to be well rewarded financially.

        A stark realisation that a new guy is ready to take your seat will remove any subconscious feeling of comfort and allow him to make the next step as his job is genuinely on the line for 2022.

    10. Thanks for the CotD! This one i actually really like. I was really so thrilled after last race.

      And yes, I agree with you @geemac, that Bottas seriously underperformed. I guess he let things get to him and let that unsettle him.

      First the way Hamilton had him beaten in Turkey. And the unlucky race last time out that left him unable to do anything about it to show for him. And now being only slightly behind Russel and seemingly overdriving the car in the first stint, locking up in many places. And to add insult to injury, getting called in the pits, waiting to be served with tyres only to see them put on tyres, take them off and then mount the old set back on dropping him into the middle of the pack with ice cold, old, hard tyres for a restart. He’s been going on a downwards trajectory for a few races now, when before he always seemed to be finding motivation to go out and try to beat Hamilton.

      1. @bascb I think it is an interesting contrast with Rosberg who, although he was roundly beaten by Hamilton in 2015, upped his game at the end of the season and won the last three races fair and square. (There were some suggestions that Hamilton had checked out early but that doesn’t seem to be in his nature, so I’m not sure it’s true). He carried that form into the early part of 2016 and built up enough of a gap to make the title a reality.

        Bottas, by contrast, seems all over the place since his realistic title hopes ended mid-season. He’s fortunate that Verstappen had his own troubles yesterday, or he could be at serious risk of missing out on second place as well.

        1. Yeah, that is certainly a huge contrast. It seems that really was Rosberg telling himself to not let himself down and get behind an all out attempt to finally beat Hamilton @red-andy. It always impressed me how Nico managed to find that resolve to knuckle down and do the job.

          I do think that until a few races ago Bottas has mostly been able to pick himself up and find new energy too, but right now it does not look like he is doing anything like Rosberg was able to muster.
          Had Max been in the race, he would probably have already been in p2 now. So Bottas did get a chance. But it will be interesting to see how Bottas goes next weekend, it will probably only get harder and harder for him to believe in himself. I do hope he picks himself up and shows us he can do it, I always hope to see sporters grow. But hard to expect anything like that is on the cards right now.

          1. @bascb

            Honestly. I think it just goes down to killer instinct and the depths that an individual will go to in pursuit of that championship.
            Rosberg knew he was never as good as Lewis. He’d been racing Lewis his whole life and finishing behind him, but he didn’t let that affect his championship challenge. He was always around trying to make the most of a situation in case Lewis failed to show up, and if Lewis was on his game, he would go to any extent to throw Lewis off his game, be it on-track antics or off track antics. Monaco 2014 and Spa 2014 are great examples of the mind games Rosberg played to get Lewis off his game.
            Bottas’ nice guy persona isn’t really working for him. You can’t go to war with this attitude. Rosberg was willing to disrupt the harmony within the team for personal gains, but Bottas doesn’t have that approach. You can’t beat Lewis in a straight fight.

          2. Yes, that is a fair assessment I think. And off course it is also the reason why Mercedes is satisfied their current line up works well to let Hamilton work his magic and win the championships for him with just enough pressure from Bottas to keep him sharp @todfod.

    11. That second Red Bull seat is Perez’s to lose.

    12. Reading Wolff’s comments and seeing as to how they went through the trouble of securing Russell for the weekend even though Vandoorne was readily available with the championships done and dusted makes it clear that he (Toto) knows Russell will be their next lead driver. I strongly suspect there are two reasons they haven’t replaced Bottas with him yet: First – the worry that no matter how good Russell is, if he came in and got comprehensively beaten by Lewis, his F1 career could easily come to a premature end just like Vandoorne’s. From that perspective, it would be make sense not to rush things and have him come in either when Lewis retires OR when age starts to take a toll on his performance. The second reason is the worry that if he did come in and perform really well, the team harmony that they’ve worked so hard on establishing would quickly dissipate and there would be a real possibility of outright strife like Mclaren 2007 (and to a lesser extent Mercedes 2016, Red Bull 2014/2018 and Ferrari 2019). Whereas that would no doubt be great for us as fans, I don’t think Mercedes care that much for our entertainment vis-a-vis their stability and continued success. Afterall, they’re winning everything even with their current driver lineup.

      The first reason will be sneered at by those who have already declared GR to be faster/better than Lewis and they’ll definitely be in support of the second reason. It has been quite amusing to see people drawing conclusions from just a single weekend at an atypical track and defending them with so much passion. I suspect whoever thinks F1 is dying hasn’t come across the level of fanboy-ism (and “hate”) on these forums! The bottom line is that Toto and the Mercedes team know how good Russell is and they probably used this opportunity to evaluate other areas of his development. My suspicion is they are very happy now because their future appears to be safe. I think that Abu Dhabi will provide a clearer picture (the more data points, the better since even Bottas performs exceptionally well sometimes and makes Lewis look ordinary). He’s tested a Mercedes there and was pretty rapid as well so it will be good to see whether he outperforms Bottas.

      Nonetheless, it is a bit silly to assume he’d beat Lewis (or even Bottas to be honest) consistently just because of yesterday and some fans really need to tone down their wild assumptions. But it was great to see him justify the hype around him and I hope we get to see him in that seat in 2022 (or some races in 2021).

    13. While I understand drivers use “we” often in interviews to reemphasize that this is a team sport, sometimes they need to mention a clear “I” when it comes to individual evaluation.

      Albon should clearly mention that 6th was the best ‘he’ could achieve today. Max would have won this race with ease after looking at how the Mercs made a mess of things.

      1. @todfod

        While I understand drivers use “we” often in interviews to reemphasize that this is a team sport, sometimes they need to mention a clear “I” when it comes to individual evaluation.

        Yes, it borders on cringe sometimes

    14. Albon doesn’t have the right mentality for Red Bull; they need someone with a bit of mongrel in that seat. Are Marko/Horner ”tied up” because of Red Bulls ownership having a vested interest in Albons success, or is that simply outlandish? If they are serious about competing for future titles, then Alex is clearly the weakest link. When you listen to the level of praise and diplomacy Verstappen uses when talking about Lewis/Valteri/Mercedes, there is no doubt in my mind that he is ready to jump ship if and when the opportunity arises. Merc need Valteri’s calm, innocuous poise to manage Lewis’ naked ego, but once Lewis retires, Russell and Verstappen as future teammates at Merc is my prediction.

    15. Red Bull has 2 seats and 3 (Albon, Tsunoda and Perez) drivers to sign up. Someone has to back of and I’m afraid it will be Albon. From a winning team to out of the sport..

    16. I think we should consider the opportunity that redbull doesn’t have the 2nd best car at all.

    17. Dear Red Bull: Enjoy Australia 2021 you noobs

    18. I wonder how long Delétraz will stay at Haas and if he is ever going to have a seat in F1. I get that he is angry against their decision to put Fittipaldi in the car, when there is no apparent logical reason to do so. But he will only end up antagonizing Steiner, and I don’t think any of the F1 team managers wants to have a driver that so vehemently criticizes a team’s decisions.

    19. Bottas to Red Bull.
      Albon to Williams.
      Russell to Mercedes.

      Problem solved.

    20. Rashmil Rajagopalan
      8th December 2020, 6:18

      It seems logical for Red Bull to give the seat to Perez. With the same regulations continuing to 2021 and the short winter break, an inform and high on confidence Perez would make so much more sense than Albon.
      Everyone likes Alex, but he’s very low on confidence, going by his driving form and also in his interviews. A break or a change away from a strong teammate like Verstappen and RedBull would anyday be a positive

    21. geoffgroom44 (@)
      9th December 2020, 20:28

      Everyone seems so keen to quote stats to demonstrate that Albon should not be at RB. I see very few stats,anywhere, defending why Perez should get the RB seat. So, I ‘binged’ and got some: First race, 2011 Australian GP. 192 race entries, 190 race starts, 24 DNF’s, 1 race win, 10 podiums.
      Pierre Gasly’s first race 2017. 63 race entries, 1 win, 2 podiums.
      Albon: first race 2019, 37 races, 2 podiums

      I’m sure racefan commentators can correct me (or my search engines sources) if I am wrong :-)

    Comments are closed.