Albon proud of his end to the season as Horner praises his “strongest race weekend”

2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Alexander Albon says he can feel proud of the way he has ended his 2020 campaign amid uncertainty over whether he will race in F1 next year.

The Red Bull driver’s future remains unclear as the team is yet to confirm who will partner Max Verstappen in 2021.

Albon, who has found this year’s Red Bull a difficult car to drive, ended the season with less than half his team mate’s points haul. However he said he has made progress in recent races and was pleased with his drive in the final round at Yas Marina after finishing fourth, chasing Lewis Hamilton over the final laps.

“I feel like it’s been my best weekend in terms of performance,” he said. “I [had] a lot of support from the guys at the factory and here and we didn’t give up. We kept trying to find solutions and getting me more comfortable with the car.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2020
Albon closed on Hamilton towards the end of the race
“It is a tricky car to drive. But to keep pushing and to have my best result, obviously under all the pressures of the weekend and everything going on, I’m proud of myself and I feel like it was a good closing end to the year.

“Obviously, it’s not mine to say, really. But of course I feel like I’ve done everything and I’ll leave it in the hands of others to decide.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said the team will decide in the near future whether Albon will be retained. “We’ve always said that we’ll go to the end of the year and then make our decision at the end of the season,” he said.

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“Alex had probably his strongest race weekend, actually, this weekend, which is encouraging for him. But we now have a full picture of the season. And we’ll make that decision in the coming days.”

Horner said Albon’s drive at Yas Marina, where he ran in the top four with his team mate and the two Mercedes drivers, was the kind of performance the team expect from him.

“It’s certainly what we were expecting to see because [that’s] the only way that you could put Mercedes under pressure. If, for example, they had split their strategy, we could have been very exposed,” he said.

“Certainly at the end of the race Alex was able to close on them. He obviously lost a bit of ground at the beginning of the stint after the Safety Car, once they all changed onto effective the same strategy to the end of the race. But I think Alex has driven a good race and he’s had a solid weekend.”

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2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Dieter Rencken
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39 comments on “Albon proud of his end to the season as Horner praises his “strongest race weekend””

  1. Good, put him on last race contract.

    But being 4th in fastest car is hardly a strong performance.

    Verstappen was joyriding 20s ahead.

    1. Last race contract? As in race by race, so they can fire him if he goes back to the typical 2020 performance? Not sure if it’s that cause it’s a bit ambiguous, if so I agree.

  2. 20s behind your teammate who was cruising on the last laps is a strong performance
    Ah of course 🤣

    1. Well, he’s a number 2 driver, see him like a bottas! I don’t think this performance was bad for a number 2, compare it with the other races.

      Ofc I’d still like perez on red bull, and ofc he’s better, but if albon had driven like this all the time the perez option wouldn’t have come.

      1. Lol don’t compare bottas situation to albon, bottas has a car that is capable of beating Ham. Bottas is atleast close enough to Ham that you know its the skill thats missing for him. While Albon is literally 1 sec off at races

    2. The man behind Albon was over a minute behind Verstappen and he was only 1.5 secs behind the 8 times champ in the most successful car this season. I reckon that’s nothing to complain about.

  3. Not enough. Just not enough.

  4. I reckon he’s going to stay anyway. I don’t think RB would have enough courage to even temporarily break their long tradition of bringing a driver from the satellite team, after all. We shall wait and see, though. Yesterday, I heard a claim that Perez would be announced over the week. I don’t know the source, although I would like to know it.

  5. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    13th December 2020, 18:29

    It’s hard to keep defending Albon with these rather sad excuses of Red Bull. Even with the Thai-connection, they didn’t have it before: what’s wrong with ditching it and being without a Thai-link once more? They threw Gasly to the side because they needed ‘a driver who if Max drops out, can take the maximum amount of points’; Albon simply doesn’t live up to that. On his best day, he gets a third or a fourth. Which is nice I guess because one can claim its the best possible behind 2 Mercs, but not if it’s the other Bull on P1.

    Red Bull managed to get P2 in the constructors with ease only because Ferrari got caught with their hand in the cookie jar. If they want to take it to Mercedes, they’ll need a lot more points. Sure, Max could’ve gotten more without all of his DNF’s (some by his own causing, some not), bur Albon barely adds his part. I don’t know how much that Thai-connection is weighing in, but it’s hard to think Perez or even Hulkenberg wouldn’t be able to get a few more points (at least) and compensate for that. Politics might be important, but it’s an F1 team in the end. At this rate, it’s getting close to the whole ‘Racing Point only lets Stroll drive because of daddy’. Which for a top-team is unacceptable as far as I’m concerned.

    1. Which DNF’s do you see as caused by Max??

      1. someone or something
        13th December 2020, 22:36

        @rebelangelfloyd
        I can think of a single one where he wasn’t entirely blameless. Probably a controversial one, but here it goes:
        Sakhir.
        Yes, he had nothing to do with the collision between Pérez and Leclerc, and he had to leave the track in order to avoid collecting them. However, I don’t think he had absolutely no chance of staying out of the barriers. I’d say he could’ve got away with it by slowing down a bit more (not too much or he would’ve been stuck), allowing him to enter the gravel trap at a different angle and with a car that bounces less and turns more. But he didn’t, probably because he followed his instinct and wanted to carry some speed through the gravel in order not to lose too many places. It would be a bit harsh to call him greedy for that, but not 100% faultless either.
        Every other DNF was entirely out of his control, including the puncture in Imola, which had nothing to do with wear.

        1. someone or something There’s a reason he’s in the car and not you. Easy peasy to criticize the event from your armchair and in hindsight. I’ll not even try to assume I know more about what his options were than he did, let alone believe it coming from you, and I think one thing you are ignoring as evidenced from the replays is that SP was going backwards beside him in the same direction and was cutting him off from turning right, as Max would have driven into him. That’s assuming he even had the grip to turn right on the few feet of asphalt he had before he was in gravel.

          Also, note, nobody within F1 or in the know have claimed Max could have prevented that incident. It is only a tiny minority of mostly non-fans that think they know better from their armchair.

          1. Yes, I think it was always a difficult position verstappen got put on, maybe hamilton with all his experience could’ve found a way out but even then I’m not sure.

          2. someone or somethin
            14th December 2020, 11:28

            @robbie
            Geez, Robbie … How much more careful can I word an opinion without offending you personally to the core?
            Apparently, I can’t. The problem is not with what I wrote, I stand by every single word of it.
            If you had read all of them, not only the hurty ones, you might realise I was definitely not attacking Verstappen, but simply making a point that there was one time where you could argue he was not entirely powerless in a situation that ended with a DNF. I mentioned all sorts of mitigating factors (the collision he was powerless to prevent, the risk of getting stuck in the gravel trap, the risk of losing too many places by slowing down too much), explicitly defended him from anything but mild criticism for trying to carry some speed in that situation (“followed his instinct”, “a bit harsh to call him greedy for that”), and refuted the initial assertion that Verstappen may have caused several DNFs this season (including a mention of his Imola puncture, which had been a point a few commenters, who actually try to attack Verstappen at any opportunity, have tried to make).
            Seriously now, on a hypothetical Max Friendliness Scale from -10 to +10, my comment is probably a solid +6.
            What kind of person could be possibly offended so badly by this that they feel the need to jump in my face butt-first with a salvo of personal attacks (“armchair expert”, “there’s a reason why you’re not driving the car”, “non-fan”)?
            I’d say, an overly sensitive extremist.
            And don’t get me wrong, I can begrudgingly respect political extremists for truly believing in something, even if it’s complete rubbish. But being obsessed with a famous person’s reputation to the point that a comment that isn’t even implicitly hostile, but just not positive enough, so you feel compelled to attack that commenter’s reputation?

            Yeah, I’ll leave that question unanswered.

          3. someone or something
            14th December 2020, 15:07

            @robbie
            Geez, Robbie … How much more careful can I word an opinion without offending you personally?
            Apparently, I can’t. The problem is quite clearly not with what I wrote.
            If you properly read my comment, not only the parts that offend you, you might realise I was definitely not attacking Verstappen, but simply making a point that there was one time where you could argue he was not entirely powerless in a situation that ended with a DNF. I mentioned all sorts of mitigating factors (the collision he was powerless to prevent, the risk of getting stuck in the gravel trap, the risk of losing too many places by slowing down too much), explicitly defended him from anything but mild criticism for trying to carry some speed in that situation (“followed his instinct”, “a bit harsh to call him greedy for that”), and refuted the initial assertion that Verstappen may have caused several DNFs this season (including a mention of his Imola puncture, which is a point a few commenters, who actually try to attack Verstappen at any opportunity, have tried to make).
            Seriously now, on a hypothetical Max Friendliness Scale from -10 to +10, my comment is probably a solid +6.
            Why on earth does this offend you so badly you feel the need to attack my person (“armchair expert”, “there’s a reason why you’re not driving the car”, “non-fan”)? Is that really something you consider appropriate?

          4. someone or something. Lol I’m really not offended personally, but when you yourself set your comment or the scenario up as being “probably a controversial one” then I took that to mean well up for debate, which is what I have done. I certainly haven’t attacked your person as I call all of us armchair experts, including myself. I only called you a non-fan because I don’t think a fan would second guess his driving as you have. He ‘could’ve gotten away with it by…’ is to me saying you know better, but sure you generously give him his instinct and stop short of calling him greedy. Mostly though I just think it is using pure hindsight to second guess what he could have done, and to not know what he was feeling in the car in those milliseconds to me just makes it silly to second guess the man who is the very one in the seat.

            But that said I’ll repeat that I wasn’t personally offended but I can see where my response came across that way. Just that I tend not to second guess any driver, not just Max, for they are the ones in the cars and getting the big bucks for being there. Example, I fully acknowledge the bonehead moves he’s made in the past out of his exuberance of youth, but of course am glad he’s grown out of that.

  6. I saw on Skysports from Ted, RB are going to sign Perez for 1 year and have Albon as reserve test driver .

    Anyone else to confirm?

    1. Doubt anyone will be able to confirm it definitely before Red Bull and/or Perez do. Might happen.

      It was a solid drive from Albon, but Horner still is giving very faint praise here, when his best race is 20s behind his winning teammate in a race both had very little non-clean air and a SC at lap 11/55 in what seems to have been the fastest car this weekend (and when Albon had a podium earlier in the year as well as some near misses where the guy he tangled with got a penalty …).

    2. If that will happen, that speaks volumes of Red Bull. That is probably admitting that their program was not useful for the last few years. However, I believe the main issue relies in the driveability of their car. They have to design a car which both drivers can drive. There is no point in having a car that only one driver can extract performance from it.

      1. Designing a car that only one driver can extract performance from can work, benetton 1994-1995? Cheating in 1994 was never proven and even if it was you still have a domination in 1995.

    3. Strange enough i saw that last night and that was not what I expected. But Ted has connections most reporters don’t have so we will hear today if he was right.

      1. Yes I was surprised as well… Sky didn’t clearly want to ruffle feathers so no hint of it during the “proper” coverage…. but as soon as most have switched off and only the afficiandos are watching Ted jumps striaght in – not even a rumour comment – more that this will definitely happen though sounded as if the exact role that Albon will have is still being discussed……

  7. Finished p4 in a race his team mate won and started p5 with a McLaren and 2 Mercs ahead on a day his team mate took pole. Minimum expectation should be p2 and p2. Horner may be happy but if the mercs had a late charge in the race then Albon was not there to protect Verstappen.

    1. I think this particular performance is what they can expect from a number 2 and if albon had driven like THIS all season he’d have all another score compared to what he got, the problem is he generally did much worse.

      If mercedes had for example decided to change tyres and charge back, they’d have fallen behind albon, I know it’s not easy to defend with the tyre difference, but in a race where it’s not so easy to overtake it’s something they need to think about, normally they didn’t have to because albon was sooooooooo far away.

  8. I think the problem with Albon isn’t so much that he’s doing a bad job but more that he’s team mates with Max Verstappen who’s doing what all of the greats can do (And I think Max is definitely one of those top tier drivers) & drive around a car’s deficiencies & TBH i’m not sure many could do that much better in the car than Albon has been.

    The Red Bull seems like it’s a very inconsistent & nervous car, Especially at the rear which seems like it likes to snap without warning & be tricky to catch when it does. Max is able to drive around that partly as I think he tends to like the back end moving around a bit anyway but also because again he’s one of those very special talents who can drive the wheels off anything & make it seem like a better car than it actually is.

    I think it was exactly the same with Pierre Gasly who didn’t look anything that special alongside Max despite looking pretty good at AlphaTauri beforehand & subsequently doing a brilliant job since getting bumped back there. If you were to move him back into the Red Bull alongside Max I don’t think he’d do much better than he did in 2019 or than what Albon has been doing this year.

    I’m also not convinced that Sergio Perez would do that much better in the car, Especially since i’m not sure the handling characteristics of the RBR car would suit his driving style as well as the Racing Point has done the past few years which is a car that seems to perfectly play into his strengths.

    1. Spot on!

      I don’t see Perez beating Max, but even if he is 0.1s quicker than Albon in qualifying that would give RB more options. As 0.1s has been at least 1 grid place in many weekends.
      Also in racecraft Perez is at least equal to Albon imho.

      1. I’d say he’s got better race craft .. primarily because he’s great at managing tyres. We see Albon putting in some great overtaking moves and assume he’s got great race craft, but the fact is that he’s put these overtakes on cars slower than the Red Bull. The only few times we’ve seen Albon attempt an overtaking move on the Mercedes… it hasn’t worked out as well has it?

    2. Great to see some objective and mature assesment of the predicament. Thx stefmeister. I am also a little curious as to why RB didn’t put Alex on mediums towards the end.He had a ‘free’ pit stop since Norris was way behind, or even pitted him at the same time as Ricciardo.That he managed in the final few laps to chase down Lewis, suggests to me a strategy call was lacking.But then , being where he was perhaps was were RB wanted him.

    3. Drivers that make it to f1 are not capable of being one sec behind their teammates in equal machinery. Its obvious red bull heavily favor max and want him to beat his teammates

  9. Any other year, retaining Albon would have been the logical choice for sake of continuity. But knowing that a driver like Perez is available who just had the best season of his career, it seems logical to get him for a year atleast with Albon as reserve driver.

    1. 30 years old, 190 races, 1 win.Really?

      1. experience can be very handy in developing and racing. Perez is in his prime and if RB will use him for 1-2 years i don’t see any problem with this.

      2. Is that really perez’s fault? He never had a chance at top team, mclaren 2013 I think it was, wasn’t one. Where should he have won? I’d say it’s already a lot that he won a race from last at the first lap with red bulls and mercedes around.

  10. It will certainly be intersting to see if his manager, his Mother the convicted fraud artist can find him a ride for next year.
    Such intrigue in Formula One.
    Looking forward to next year!

    1. Well, so good to see you view Alex so objectively though quite exactly what his genealogy has to do with F1 I don’t quite get.

  11. If Albon stays on in 2021, then F1 will be left with only six, maybe seven top drivers (in no real order):
    – Hamilton
    – Bottas (questionable)
    – MaxV
    – DRicc
    – Leclerc
    – GRussell (his car is so slow, he does not really count in a race)

    I think McLaren fans are going to discover how fast the McLaren car can really go when DRicc arrives in 2021. Using some F1Fan logic: Hulkenberg > Sainz @ Renault; Sainz = Norris @ McLaren; DRicc > Hulkenberg & Renualt, therefore DRicc > Sainz and DRicc > Norris.

    Vettel and Alonso are probably well passed their best. All the other drivers are pretty much so, so, just down right bad or rookies.

    1. The Bottas – Questionable bit seems odd to me. That question was answered for me at the last race.
      He shouldn’t be on your list.

    2. Wait a sec, you said maybe 7 top drivers, but I ony see 6 there for you.

      IMO the current top drivers are: hamilton, verstappen, leclerc, russel in order of experience, then you have alonso coming back who might still be good at that age, and ricciardo who is a semi, he’s clearly slower than verstappen but is probably faster than any other driver not on the list.

      Agree, vettel is no longer a top driver.

    3. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      14th December 2020, 13:20

      Ralf > Jenson @ Williams
      Jenson > Lewis @ McLaren
      Lewis > Rosberg @ Merc
      Rosberg > Michael @ Merc
      Therefore:
      Ralf > Michael

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