Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Albert Park, 2020

2020 F1 driver rankings #18: Alexander Albon

2020 F1 season review

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It wouldn’t be fair on Alexander Albon to view his unquestionably dismal 2020 F1 campaign out of context.

But, of course, nor would it be fair on his rivals to place him higher up the rankings on the grounds that he should have had more preparation before being thrown in at the deep end against as formidable a team mate as Max Verstappen.

It was always going to be a case of ‘sink or swim’, and Albon isn’t Red Bull’s first promotion from its junior ranks to do the former, even after a promising stint at their sister squad. As his 2020 season unfolded Albon seemed ill-equipped for the challenge he faced and many questioned whether it was too much, too soon for him.

In 2019 he went from never having driven a Formula 1 car to having a race-winning machine at his disposal in the space of just six months. This worked out fairly well with the RB15, a car he adapted to well. But only at the very end of 2020 did he look vaguely comfortably in its successor, and by then it was too late.

By the time the curtain fell at Abu Dhabi, five days before Red Bull confirmed Sergio Perez would join Verstappen for the 2021 F1 season, Albon had lost by far the most one-sided contest between two team mates this year.

It wasn’t just that Verstappen out-qualified him at every race, or that Albon only got within three-tenths of a second of him once. This was broadly the same qualifying deficit we saw last year.

Pierre Gasly, Alexander Albon, Autodromo do Algarve, 2020
Albon was too often seen scrapping in the midfield
Too often Albon couldn’t get the Red Bull into the positions its pace merited in races. This became a particularly conspicuous problem as Verstappen suffered more misfortunes than Albon, yet the number 23 Red Bull too rarely appeared in view when the number 33 had broken down or been hit by a rival.

One of the few occasions this wasn’t the case was in the season-opener at the Red Bull Ring, where a late Safety Car period put him on the tail of the Mercedes drivers with fresh tyres. He was in the process of picking Lewis Hamilton off for second place when the world champion knocked him into a spin. How Albon’s season might have panned out with the confidence-boosting second or even first place he was on course for until that point is one of 2020’s great ‘what if’ moments.

It took until Mugello – another unlucky day for Verstappen – for Albon to finally claim a podium which by this point looked overdue in every sense. He had struggled home to too many sub-fourth place finishes by this stage, notably a week earlier at Monza where he tangled with Romain Grosjean and came in 15th.

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Perez’s retirement handed Albon a second podium in Bahrain
Red Bull, who gave Albon much more time to prove himself than Pierre Gasly enjoyed 12 months earlier, persevered with him, and hoped his Mugello result would prove a turning point. It didn’t. He came in tenth next time out at Sochi, and retired at the Nurburgring after a ragged race spoiled by a first lap lock-up and an unnecessary collision with Daniil Kvyat.

Albon had two more races to prove himself, said the team. These were at Autodromo do Algarve and Imola, and neither went well. His Portuguese race was a disaster, slipping back on the wet track early on, and eventually being lapped by Verstappen.

Imola would have gone better had the team not left his pit call under the Safety Car fractionally too late, leaving Albon on old tyres at the restart, on which he spun. This was the fourth race since his breakthrough podium, in which time he had scored just one point in four races – this from a driver who managed to out-score Verstappen over their first seven races as team mates during 2019.

Alexander Albon

Beat team mate in qualifying 0/17
Beat team mate in race 0/11
Races finished 16/17
Laps spent ahead of team mate 28/756
Qualifying margin +0.523s
Points 105

His results improved over the final rounds, but again there were missed opportunities. While his future replacement Perez won in Sakhir, Albon managed only sixth. Istanbul was noteworthy as being the only time all season when he ran ahead of Verstappen for more than a handful of laps during pit stop phases, his team mate spinning early on, though normal service was resumed before the end of the race.

Albon salvaged third in Bahrain and fourth in Abu Dhabi, both times with only Mercedes and his team mate ahead. Had that been his lot throughout much of 2020, Red Bull surely wouldn’t have found it necessary to replace him. But however Albon arrived at the difficult position he found himself in during 2020, it was clear Red Bull couldn’t accept a repeat again this year.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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69 comments on “2020 F1 driver rankings #18: Alexander Albon”

  1. Unfortunately Albon’s 2020 was abysmal, he didnt even threat Verstappen at any point of the season. His best all around weekend was Abu Dhabi and even there, he didnt manage to threat the ,undepowered for safety reasons, Mercedes.The qualifying margin of +0.523s is really poor at this level. Albon got lucky that Vettel had a torrid season as well and he wasnt ranked even lower…

    So far me and Keith had the same ratings for the bottom 3 spots

    19th: Vettel
    18th: Albon
    17th: Magnussen
    16th: Grosjean
    12th: Kvyat
    10th: Stroll

    9th: Russell
    8th: Norris
    7th: Leclerc
    6th: Gasly
    5th: Sainz
    4th: Ricciardo
    3rd: Verstappen
    2nd: Ηamilton
    1st: Perez

    1. I simply don’t understand why Perez tops your list, neither do I understand Perez is anyones top 4 list. Yes Perez had a ‘solid’ season, but the car obviously was good for many more podiums than both Perez and Stroll realized. In fact Perez only had six top 5 finishes… the car was way better than that and surely ahead of McLaren, Renault and Ferrari
      Frame of reference, Norris, Sainz and Leclers did have six top 5 finishes, Ricciardo seven.

      My top 5 would be Verstappen, Hamilton, Ricciardo, Leclerc than i would start doubting between Perez and Sainz…
      Verstappen was the most consistent driver this season
      Hamilton solid, but costly mistakes in Austria, Silverstone, Monza, Sochi and not on top of his game in Abu Dhabi.
      Ricciardo outperformed the material, both RacingPoints should have finished ahead of him more often
      Leclerc fast for sure, three crashed though

      1. I simply don’t understand why Perez tops your list, neither do I understand Perez is anyones top 4 list.

        Because in lists like this performing well at the end of the season always boosts your position. Memories are short in F1 and you are only as good as your last race…

        1. I rated Perez third in my list, although it was extremely close between him, Ricciardo, Leclerc and Gasly. To avoid the ‘short memory’ issue, I rated every driver out of ten each race, and then found an average for each driver for the season, and then loosely based my rankings around these averages. Perez had the third highest average in my ranking, and although the rankings out of ten are all subjective, did the same thing with their power rankings, and Perez was third in that list as well. I do think it is a bit much to have him first or second, as Hamilton and Verstappen were a long way ahead of the rest, but I think any of Perez, Ricciardo, Leclerc and Gasly could legitimately be third on the list.

        2. I rated Perez third in my list, although it was extremely close between him, Ricciardo, Leclerc and Gasly. To avoid the ‘short memory’ issue, I rated every driver out of ten each race, and then found an average for each driver for the season, and then loosely based my rankings around these averages. Perez had the third highest average in my ranking, and although the rankings out of ten are all subjective, the power rankings on the official F1 website also had Perez with the third highest average. I do think it is a bit much to have him first or second, as Hamilton and Verstappen were a long way ahead of the rest, but I think any of Perez, Ricciardo, Leclerc and Gasly could legitimately be third on the list, without the issue of ‘memories are short in F1.’

        3. To get a response? Kind of do it yourself click bait. You want feedback, get it wrong, get it very right or throw in a curve ball. ta dah

      2. There are many variables that contributed in placing Perez at No1.

        Firstly,he immediately showed from Austria that him and the extremely solid Racing Point package are a great combo,as he was really quick storming through the grid.
        He lost 2 races with Covid + lost his seat but after that he returned with great drives, despite some significant strategic errors(Portimao-Imola). He had a great race at Bahrain before his engine died, costing him another podium and won in Outer.
        I wasn’t just impressed by the fact that he won the race,as it was helped by many others factors, but the way he climbed up from dead last was extremely impressive.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          13th January 2021, 10:38


          I think I sort of have to agree with what @geemac says regarding the later part of the season being more influencing. It has been the same with Bottas many years from other’s views. He often has a bad 2nd half but the great first half was often forgotten.

          Perez’s first half of the season really wasn’t that special and due to this, I can’t understand how anybody could even rate him in the top 4 like Matn said.

          You rate Stroll 10 places lower, when a couple of races past the mid point of the season after Russia, Stroll was still ahead of Perez in the standings.

          You mention Perez had 2 missed races due to covid and that is indeed correct, but Stroll had a mechanical DNF in Austria and Tuscany, then got taken out by Leclerc in Russia. Strolls race was overlooked in Russia as Perez was excellent, but even though Stroll started way down the grid, just before he got taken out, he had caught right up to Perez over just a few corners on the first lap due to his mighty impressive start.

          Given Stroll had 3 DNFs by this point and Perez missed two races, and to adjust things, we can say Stroll got lucky in Italy, their balance of luck wasn’t dramatically different at this stage.

          From this race onwards, Stroll really went downhill (other than Turkey), but still, either you should say Stroll had an absolutely incredible first half/third of the season if Perez is number one or Perez should be moved down quite some places. I just don’t see how they can be 10 positions apart.

          I’m comparing Stroll a lot just because out of the races we can judge, Stroll finished ahead just as often and in fact didn’t have that many less racing laps ahead of Perez either. Not saying that Stroll should even be close to Perez, but like Stroll’s 2nd half of the season was very poor, I think perez’s first half was pretty underwhelming that they should be ranked closer than 10 positions. I would probably race Perez somewhere between 5th and 7th and stroll 11th to 13th, but it is tricky to decide.

          1. @thegianthogweed
            Stroll indeed had some significant issues after the mid point (out at Nurburgring-punchure at Mugello-taken out at Russia), but this doesn’t justify his average performance overall. He is not a rookie/inexperienced anymore and with how tight the midfield battle was, each driver should be at it’s best for the vast majority of the season and Stroll didn’t manage that.

            Stroll had only one sole weekend when he took everything from the car and looked extremely comfortable behind the wheel (Hungary). You could add Spain as well,as Racing Point was easily best of the rest, Stroll performed pretty well.

            But then,there are many factors that made me rank him 10 places behind Perez. The first one,is how easily Hulkenberg outpaced him in the 70th anniversary weekend. In the end Stroll beat Hulkenberg,as Hulk had some tyre vibrations ,but Stroll was clearly outpaced by a replacement driver in both qualy and race trim.

            Then,we have the Monza race. Stroll wasn’t that strong around Monza as in the past(his Williams drives around Monza were really good) but he had a golden opportunity of winning the race,as he was second in the final restart, with Hamilton having a penalty. Stroll, a notoriously good starter,lost 3 places and thus he threw away this golden opportunity.

            You also mention that his Russia race was overlooked. He qualified 9 positions behind his teammate, despite having the updates on his car. We saw that the updates were a significant step up in the previous event (Mugello) ,but Stroll didn’t take the maximum of the package he had in Russia(before taken out by Leclerc).

            He and Perez had an excellent car underneath them but Stroll only managed to have some glances of brilliance.

          2. I would actually say that Perez and Stroll were very similar in performance over the first half of the season:
            Austria – Stroll retired early but Perez was still faster in qualifying and the early stages of the race. Perez struggled at the end of the race, but I would say Perez was slightly better here.
            Styria – Perez battled from the back to take fifth, although he then lost it by hitting Albon and came sixth. Stroll got stuck behind Ricciardo and was much slower than Perez. Although they finished less than a second apart, and Stroll outqualified Perez, I think Perez was much better than Stroll in Styria. Perez is still ahead overall
            Hungary – Stroll is significantly better than Perez all race, and cancels out (and a bit more) the advantage Perez had after the first two races to go just ahead in my rankings.
            Britain 1 and 2 – Perez missed these races, so we have to pretend he had an average race and his overall ranking is not affected. However, Stroll was very poor in race one and also underperformed in race two, so I think it is fair for Stroll’s rating to go down, but for Perez’s to stay the same. Perez is now just ahead in my opinion.
            Spain – Perez outqualifies Stroll, but is overtaken by him at the start. Stroll is then ahead for most of the race, but Perez’s superior tyre management gets him ahead. He then loses his fourth to Stroll because of a penalty for ignoring blue flags, but as I don’t agree with the penalty, I rated them equally for Spain, so Perez is still just ahead overall.
            Belgium – Perez outqualifies Stroll, but is beaten by him in the race. However, this is mainly due to a bad strategy from Racing Point. Perez eventually finishes right behind Stroll, but as Stroll was ahead at the start before they went on different strategies, I rated him very slightly ahead here. Perez is still ahead overall, but by a tiny margin.
            Italy – I actually thought this was quite a poor drive by Stroll. He was quite a few places behind Perez on the grid, but then lucked into second place because of the red flag. He then messed up the start, and was very lucky that his lock-up and slide off the track came at a corner where he could re-join the track in the same position. Perez, on the other hand, was very good in qualifying, and although his race was less good, he extends his lead over Stroll in my ratings.
            Mugello – Stroll was much better than Perez in both qualifying and the race, and cancels out Perez’s advantage. At this point (halfway), they have exactly the same score in my ratings, but are outside the top ten. Over the second half of the season, Perez actually had the highest rating of anyone, while Stroll had one of the lowest, and Perez ended up third overall, with Stroll 17th. Of course, these ratings are all subjective, but I still think that over the first half of the season, Perez and Stroll were equal, while Perez was so much better than Stroll over the second half that, overall, it makes sense for him to be over ten places ahead. You may disagree with some of my ratings from the individual races, of course.

          3. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            13th January 2021, 13:28


            That is a pretty fair comparison I think. I just think that given how even they were at the start, it is likely that Stroll was very good indeed, or Perez not so good. I think it is more that Perez wasn’t all that great to begin with, which is the main reason why I think ranking him as the best driver is far too high. I don’t think I would argue with him possibly being rated in the top 3 for the 2nd half however.

      3. My top 5 would be Verstappen, Hamilton, Ricciardo, Leclerc than i would start doubting between Perez and Sainz…
        Verstappen was the most consistent driver this season
        Hamilton solid, but costly mistakes in Austria, Silverstone, Monza, Sochi and not on top of his game in Abu Dhabi.

        There’s no way Verstappen should be number 1 if all he has to do is beat such a lowly ranked teammate, free of title pressure. Plus he made some mistakes too – crashing on the formation lap in Hungary , spinning x2 in Turkey, spinning in wet Styria Q3, driving himself into the barriers Sakhir, colliding with Perez/Stroll in Portugal. Also, Verstappen broke his front wing in Styria by panicking in trying to keep a gap to Bottas (who would have never gotten past anyway) and lost P2

        1. @amam I doubt the person’s placement of Max at number 1 would be because he beat a ‘lowly ranked teammate’ but is of course because of his consistency and the fact that he was the only one to take the fight to the Mercedes cars, and he nearly took 2nd in the WDC from VB which would have been highly embarrassing for VB given his dominant car. But given your rhetoric in describing Max’s season incidents (eg. like he would ever ‘panic’), clearly you are simply not a fan. And that’s ok.

        2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          13th January 2021, 16:11


          Crashing on the formation lap does seem to be forgotten my many, or at least accepted due to the performance after it, which was excellent. However, I doubt any other team could have recovered his car under so much pressure and in time like Red Bull did. Effectively, one of his not fault retirements could be counted against him as he could easily have not taken part in this race down to his own mistake.

          The rest of your post I don’t really agree with. But one thing I do think is that if anything, Hamilton’s mistakes in the first race, Italy and russia should count against Hamilton somewhat. I personally would rate Hamilton as the best driver this year, but don’t think I would be heavily against anyone who went for verstappen instead. In terms of verstappen’s weakest point of the season, I think that would be Italy. His race was arguable as bad or worse than Bottas there.

          1. Well said @thegianthogweed that seems a fair assessment to me.

    2. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
      13th January 2021, 9:05

      Driver rankings are so difficult to work out. So many variables.

      I can’t help thinking Verstappen did well despite the car and this ranking is a bit harsh on Albon because he was never happy with the car. Gasly had the same problem at look at you ranking for him now.

      For me Russell is a top 5 driver. I hope he gets a break soon.

      1. Russell unfortunately cannot be ranked higher,as he is limited by the machinery he drives. He is a great talent no doubt, but since the package he is provided by Williams isn’t good enough, some driver weaknesses started to happen.

        Russell really struggled with the clutch system of the FW43,he had appalling starts and as a result,many of his races were compromised significantly.

  2. Yes he blew it but he genuinely ran out of talent. Max is at least a once in a decade driver, maybe more if RBR buck their ideas up or Mercedes pull the plug/Lewis retires. We may well sit here in one seasons time and say he didn’t do that badly, I doubt it but sometimes in absence your reputation grows. Unlikely we will see him again but then Kvyat looked about as likely to get another drive as Lance does of getting sacked mid season and he came back and underwhelmed once more. Le Mans/DTM and FE awaits

  3. Considering Latifi was a rookie and in a Williams, I would actually put him above Seb (4x WDC and one of the most experienced on the grid) and Albon (already had half a season with RBR and a machine capable of more than he delivered).

    But that’s just me!

    1. These rankings don’t take factors like experience into account.

      1. Personally, I think the best way to someone takes this into account or not in their rankings is to see who is higher out of Perez and Ocon in 2017. On driving alone, Perez was clearly slightly better, but as Ocon was nearly a rookie, he was clearly more impressive if experience is taken into account. (These rankings had Perez 7th and Ocon 8th in 2017).

        1. *to find out if someone*

      2. Yes they do or Seb would not be 19th. If Albon beat Max 4 x he would not be here

        1. Not so sure. Vettel was objectively the worst driver in the statistic that matters most: points. He scored three times less than his teammate (98 vs 33). That is HUGE. Not to mention that half of his points came from a very weird and unusual race, so it could have been much worse, actually. Any driver with such a massive deficit belongs to the bottom of this list.

      3. What? Since when? And how could it not? Removing experience from a driver rating, when it’s fundamental to performance, is ridiculous.

        1. @joeypropane: There’s nothing ridiculous about it. This is a ranking based on performance, pure and simple. Should we rate Russell above Hamilton because he performed better relative to their respective experiences? In a ranking of performance relative to experience yes, that would probably be correct. But that’s not what this ranking is about, so it’s safe to assume that here Hamilton will be rated above Russell. I’m sure there are dozens of websites that do that kind of ranking, just not this one. Personally, I think that the ranking here is more interesting, but it’s a matter of taste.

          1. I mean, does Keith actually state his ranking criteria and how it’s weighted? It’s obvious from the write up’s that performance vs team mate has a lot of influence, but that isn’t always a clear indication; Leclerc beating a 4x WDC is considerably more impressive than Russel beating a rookie Latifi on paper.

            Car performance is obviously the other big metric – look at how much more Perez got out of the Pink Mercedes than Stroll did – but individual performance relative to experience can, and should not, be excluded from any performance ranking imo.

          2. I mean, does Keith actually state his ranking criteria and how it’s weighted? It’s obvious from the write up’s that performance vs team mate has a lot of influence, but that isn’t always a clear indication; Leclerc beating a 4x WDC is considerably more impressive than Russel beating a rookie Latifi on paper.

            Car performance is obviously the other big metric – look at how much more Perez got out of the Pink Mercedes than Stroll did – but individual performance relative to experience cannot , and should not, be excluded from any performance ranking imo.

  4. 18th is way too harsh for someone with the pressure at a top team and compared to several others, but then I suppose it has to be when the predictable narrative is to diminish Verstappen’s annihilation of him in order that he not get top spot.

    1. @balue in fact being at a top team actually confers a huge advantage in these rankings as it makes it much easier to assess performance. In the case of Albon we know he had the second fastest (very occasionally fastest) car on the grid and if he couldn’t handle the pressure and perform well then of course he is going to be ranked lowly.

      It’s much harder for someone such as Russell in a poor car to be able to show what he is capable of and hence he’s likely to be ranked closer to mid-table than might be fair (I’m not saying he should be ranked in the top three, I’m saying it’s just too difficult to really know).

      As for your conspiracy theory about it being an attempt to diminish Verstappen’s performance, I’d be very surprised if Verstappen wasn’t in the top two in these rankings anyway so it’s hardly likely to have an impact.

    2. @balue in terms of performance, Albon has been one of the worst on the grid in numerous categories – nobody has been that bad for a long, long time.

      In terms of laps spent ahead of his team mate, the total of 28 that Albon has is the worst on the grid by over 600% compared to the next nearest driver – no driver has performed that badly in years, if not decades.

      In terms of qualifying performance, he had one of the largest relative gaps to his team mate – a gap that was actually worse than Gasly’s relative performance to Verstappen (and you criticised Gasly quite a bit for that) – and he was basically joint worst with Latifi in terms of how far back he qualified from Verstappen in terms of grid slots (over 4 places behind Verstappen).

      In all of the races that both drivers finished, Albon failed to finish any of them in front of Verstappen – Gasly had a better record relative to Verstappen – and Albon managed to be lapped twice by Verstappen in dry conditions and with a fully functioning car.

      In terms of starting performance, Albon was consistently terrible too – his consistent loss of places at the start meant he was one of the worst performers in that area – and he managed to be outscored by multiple drivers in cars considered inferior even with a superior reliability record to most of those drivers.

      You’ve not offered any explanation for why Albon should be ranked any higher – considering that he has statistics that are the worst that a driver in a top team has put in for decades, why shouldn’t he be ranked very lowly?

    3. Saying he was bad because he was trounced by a team mate when it could obviously be because the team mate is exceptional is exactly the same narrative as the article, and knowing you, it’s based on exactly the same motivation.

      The reality is that any other midfield driver would more than likely have been shown up in the exact same way as Albon and you know it. The car was difficult to drive fast, and only the very best could extract the speed to be close to the Mercedes on occasion.

      So like I said, it has to be that Albon is exceptionally bad and not Verstappen exceptional good as that won’t fit the narrative so we say Albon is one of the worst drivers on the grid so it will be more believable when Verstappen is ranked down (as he must).

  5. I assumed correctly.

  6. Albon looks worse because of Max. This score shows this.

    1. TurisMotorsport (@)
      7th September 2021, 9:35

      Late, but Albon isn’t simply below Max by quite some margin, but also below drivers with inferior cars like Perez with RP, Ricciardo with Renault, and Sainz with McLaren.

  7. ‘Formula 1 is not a finishing school’ – Mark Webber

    I wasn’t particularly impressed with Albon in 2019 and didn’t think he offered any more than Gasly did. And I wasn’t surprised by his performances in 2020. Drivers do improve over time but rarely find more raw pace. Lance Stroll is testament to that.

  8. Once he cuts his ties with Red Bull, his career will be better.

    1. The team that mentored him, that gave him his break and then put him in the 2nd best car. Yeh sure

    2. Easy to say given the brutal nature of the RB driver programme but the evidence generally suggests that the grass isn’t greener for drivers who leave.

      Sainz is the only driver I can think of whose career (in sporting terms) is better as a result of leaving. However there are lots of drivers whose aren’t and I fear that Albon is in that camp.

  9. Alex unfortunately became an instrument for demonstrating how badly Red Bull works with its drivers and also that they aren’t as competitive as most of us think. Sure, there were some really poor performances, but if your second car battles in the midfield most of the time for two seasons straight, it’s a clear indicator that there’s some serious issue relating to the construction of the car, its characteristics and driveability. I’m convinced that if you take Verstappen out of that car, Red Bull will be only a fraction ahead of the top of the midfield and they’ll have hard time to stay in the 2nd in the Constructors. This problem, in my opinion, dates back to the departure of Ricciardo – Red Bull’s missing feedback from a seasoned driver and Verstappen, despite his six seasons in the sport, isn’t probably experienced enough to direct the development and setups the right way. Perez might help them a lot in this respect, but given the abrupt change of rules next year and Red Bull’s intentions to treat him as a short-term solution, I’m not that optimistic.

  10. To be honest, given that record, I would have put him last of all the drivers. However, context is needed to determine the rankings. I think he should have been Kyvat’s replacement at Alpha Tauri. The problem is that, what will you do with Tsunoda?

    Perez should give us a more representative condition of Red Bull’s car handling and performance.

  11. I’m struggling to see how Albon is behind Grosjean

    1. Or indeed Magnussen

  12. 18th!? That’s harsh. The dude had virtually no F1 preparation before joining Toro Rosso, elevated halfway through his rookie year and dropped by the end of his second? Up against Verstappen of all people – not only one of the best in the sport currently but Red Bull’s favourite, in a car Red Bull openly admitted was a mishmash of bits along with extreme inexperience?

    The guy had a rough year, that’s obvious but realistically he wasn’t that bad. Poor against Verstappen, but not a poor F1 driver at all. The guy needed help, guidance and maybe some support, something that Red Bull rarely seem to be able to do. Rankings of drivers are opinions so usually I don’t complain about others but this just feels like kicking someone when they’re already down, and unnecessarily so.

    1. @rocketpanda I doubt AA is going to see this ranking, let alone would care even if he did, so I don’t see how this is kicking someone when they’re down, other than of course by this site, to it’s readers, or more specifically to this site’s AA fans who might be offended and feel kicked.

      That said I do share a bit of your sentiment in that for sure AA is a relative rookie and it was always going to be a tall order for someone with little experience to be put aside Max. But they would never have expected him to beat Max, and they didn’t. Just be closer to him than he was. Consistently.

      Let’s face it if RBR had their way DR would still be on the team. DR left (which shocked them) and that left them scrambling for a driver, and at least they have given a few drivers in their program a shot. Had they not they would have been criticized for that. And at some point one has to state the obvious…this is F1, not a training camp. It is not entirely unfair to have expected more from AA, for he had been deemed good enough to be in F1. How much hand holding does one need to do after that? After a point it is up to the driver. For you see I reject your notion, which is a popular one, that they didn’t help, guide and support AA. Of course they did. And of course, opposite to your rhetoric, he didn’t have a ‘mishmash of bits’ other than perhaps early in the season when they had just come off of lock down AA didn’t get the one new wing or what have you that they had only had time to make. That happens and of course you yourself, if it were up to you, would give that one-off component to your senior and engrained driver.

      And his engineer was less experienced too? Sure, that guy gets to have his day in the sun to be able to learn and grow too, but you can’t tell me that engineer was left all on his own to figure things out with AA. He would have had access to the whole staff, including on Max’s side of the garage, to help them all get AA sorted. End of the day, only RBR knows exactly when it would have been unfair to criticize AA due to a lesser component, or someone hitting him, or what have you, and when it was fair to criticize him given the tools and the time that they indeed were providing him that concurred with days when he should have done better all things considered.

      1. Coventry Climax
        13th January 2021, 19:28

        It’s just a list, so no need to get all upset about it. I do however sympathise with @adam‘s reply.
        Where yours is concerned, @Robbie; Why is everyone always saying that Vettel just needs things to exactly to his specs and he’ll be a wonderful driver, whereas for AA such things would not be the case?
        I rate AA higher than 18th based on that we’ve seen a couple of very decent passes or almost passes that were just as decent but torpedoed by the driver being passed. Bottas (and many others) shows zero race or overtaking skills year after year, and he’s not been yet, so apparently higher on this list.
        Sure, this list has to be made after this season, but let’s wait and see how Perez fares. I would not be surprised if it’s a lot worse than everyone is now expecting. Will Perez be at the bottom of next years list, or will we ‘invent’ excuses for him?
        That is, if we do get a season at all this year.

        1. Coventry Climax Yours is not an unfair comment. I can go along with some of what you have said. I think it just bugs me a little when some claim RBR doesn’t care about and support both their drivers. I think they do and I think AA did get help and support and still fell short, given the car. You are absolutely right about claims made, or shall we even say excuses made for SV if his car isn’t just right, for example the back end planted. But the difference with SV is that he indeed proved what he could do when the car suits him better, and AA seemingly didn’t do enough even when he was more comfortable with the car. I do agree with you that AA really acquitted himself well at times in some close combat situations.

          I’m sure there’s things we don’t know about as well, such as his input and ability to help himself by guiding his crew as to what would help him. I’m speculating of course but the point being only RBR have all the details that went into the decision to release him, albeit they’re keeping him as their reserve driver and I’m sure he’ll do a ton of simulator work for them too.

          1. Coventry Climax
            15th January 2021, 14:07

            Looks like we might achieve consensus here ;-). Ofcourse, RBR only know all the details. Might -assuming on my side- very well be that Albon’s preferred type of car differs too much from Verstappen’s preffered car.

  13. If perez performs this bad in that red bull we will know its the car and not the drivers

    1. Yeah, and if the car indeed is that bad what would that say about Max?

    2. You know Max was also complaining about the car and that problem was during the first part of the season. So it’s not that the car was tailor made for Max it was some windtunnel CFG error which disrupted the Aero massive and made the balance of the car at low speeds unpredictable it’s that Max could drive around the problem (still you saw several spins)

  14. There’s no way Verstappen should be number 1 if all he has to do is beat such a lowly ranked teammate,

    1. @amam If that were the only criteria to the driver ranking then you’re right Max shouldn’t be number 1. By the same yardstick then, nor should LH, nor CL, nor SP, nor DR, nor GR etc etc given the amount of ‘competition’ they received (read didn’t receive) from their teammates.

    2. @amam That’s obviously the idea here

  15. After that summary of his season I’d have placed him below Vettel. Either way they both had awful seasons.

  16. And Valtteri Bottas not showing up yet…

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      13th January 2021, 18:53

      Given Hamilton has been the best on the grid and Bottas does at least put good pressure on him in qualifying as well as during a lot of the races early on, I think Bottas will likely be in the top 10. He was 11th in 2018 and this was clearly a better year than that for him. At least Bottas spent a good 30% of racing laps ahead of Hamilton which is far better than can be said for Albon against Verstappen.

      Albon just never showed any sort of challenge on Verstappen and time wise he finished quite a bit further behind Verstappen than Bottas did on Hamilton.

      In terms of a bad season, Albon is a long way behind Bottas.

      1. Given Hamilton has been the best on the grid


    2. Dean Franklin
      15th January 2021, 4:52

      Bottas got beat by the substitute driver for crying out loud!

  17. I disagree with Alex being at 18th place. He scored 105 point through the season, only one DNF, and just 4 non-points-scoring finishes. He deserves to be placed higher than this.

    1. @drycrust strictly speaking, it is two DNFs – he covered enough laps in the Austrian GP to be classified, but pulled off 4 laps before the end.

      That said, saying that Albon scored 105 point with only a few DNFs actually hurts your argument, considering that two of the drivers he outscored had more races they didn’t finish or didn’t race in (Perez missing 2 due to covid and 2 DNFs, and Sainz with 1 DNS and 2 DNFs), whilst Leclerc only finished just behind Albon despite having 4 DNFs.

      Albon was scoring, on average, 7 points per race, equivalent to finishing half the races in 6th place and half the races in 7th place. When you take into account DNF races, Albon does not compare favourably with the midfield pack – should Albon score fewer points per race than Leclerc (average of 7 for Albon and 7.6 points for Leclerc) per race finished when Leclerc was driving Ferrari’s worst car in 40 years? Just consistently finishing in 6th place in every race would have netted him 136 points this season and put him 4th in the WDC – and with the car he had at his disposal, that is a fairly realistic goal also and again points to him underscoring relative to expectations.

      Having 4 non-points-scoring finishes (technically 3 where the car was still running) is also not really that great an achievement when he should be pretty comfortably finishing in the top 10 if the car was working normally – again, there are a lot of midfield drivers in slower cars who managed that, or have even better records than Albon despite having a slower car.

      Albon’s record deteriorated this season and was worse than that of Gasly in 2019 when he was at Red Bull – and if Gasly’s performance in 2019 was considered bad enough to get demoted to Toro Rosso, then it’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of Albon if he was even worse than that in 2020.

      1. Ha ha! Thank you for disillusioning my beliefs. The truth is better than fiction.

  18. RBR’s problems started when Dr Death opened his trap & announced the team would be built around Max, as there is some credance to the view that DR helped RBR more than people may have thought. This is further supported by a couple of Abiteboul’s comments about DR, even after he announced he was leaving Reggie. Throwing them in the deep-end against Max, Gasly was given a lifeline, but not Albon.
    I understand Albon will drive for Ferrari in DTM. In his sabbatical, Kyvat did simulator for Ferrari. Umm????

    Unless Perez has a shocker [car set-up for max??], can not see him dropped for ’22. He should be consistently closer to Max, if not beat him on occasions, but RBR needs WCC points for $$’s.

    Reports F1 will delay new rules again to 2023 are “wrong”.
    Aren’t these the same people that organised, at m-u-c-h cost, a ’21 calendar of 23 races across the globe?
    Can’t hear the fat lady singing yet!!!

    1. @ancient1 I don’t recall an announcement that the team would be built around Max. Perhaps you could provide a quote? I do recall that when Max stepped up and negotiated a contract extension, I believe in 2017, Horner said something to the effect that now Max has a chance to build a team around himself, but that would be no different than what many top drivers have done and gotten accolades for. Doesn’t mean they ignore the other side of the garage. That RBR truly wanted DR to stay is an indication of that. They wanted two top drivers there.

      So if RBR are such a one-rooster team as accusations imply, how did Max manage to win his very first race with RBR, in what I have to assume some people think was DR’s car, since, after all, they only know how to support one driver and Max hadn’t even been on the team yet? DR had handled SV in 2014. Presumably he was then their go-to guy after that? I suppose being bested by Kvyat in 2015 put some doubt to that? Not sure, but ultimately Max somehow came into DR’s RBR team and took over, youthful mistakes aside, well before they had any time to make it ‘his’ team.

      I agree about Perez and think he will be a good and strong teammate to Max, and certainly Max has said he’s glad for the challenge and the push that should come with Perez there. Going to be a blast to watch.

      1. @Robbie – Whilst I can not provide a specific quote, if you were watching Sky F1 TV for the GP’s, I find it difficult to understand how you miss the discussion on it. I don’t have blinkers on, but the string of DNF’s etc to Dan can not be written-off as bad luck. The disgraceful treatment to Dan after the collision with Max moving too many times in the braking area [Baku??]. Dr. Death had already set the precedent with Seb & Mark W. [Seb ignores team orders – nothing done; Seb gets choice of parts – “Not bad for a #2′].
        Perhaps Dieter or Keith could comment on this?

        I’ll predict now that if Max leaves RBR and the current drivers with F1 licence remain, Gasly will be promoted.
        Max leaving is not unreasonable, particularly if Dan clicks @ Merc, as RBR then will be Red Bull’s Eye, therefore as team #2 or even #3 will be under pressure [enter Perez].

        1. @ancient1 I didn’t miss the discussion on it, which is why I am telling you they never announced that the team would be built around Max. What they did say was that not unlike many top drivers in F1’s history Max had/has the chance to build a team around himself. I repeat, they said Max had the chance to build the team around himself. They didn’t say they would build the whole team around Max. They were saying that by Max committing to the team by going to them and asking for an extension on his contract, he was stating his intention to be there. The building of a team around him was then up to him by his actions on the track and his interactions with his side of the garage for them to commit together to try to take the car to the top.

          If you think they scuppered DR’s car with dnfs then I guess you subscribe to conspiracy theories and there may be no hope of talking sense to you. That would be ridiculous and they simply wouldn’t do that, and Max certainly has never needed the help in besting DR. They loved and admired DR and wanted him to stay, and are not so petty that once he announced his leaving to Renault they would start treating him that way. These are not school children.

          The ‘disgraceful’ treatment of him after the collision with Max? That incident built up all race long as they both had been fighting tooth and nail, and they both admit they were too greedy that day. The best thing the team could have done, after the stewards deemed it a racing incident and left it up to the team to mede out punishment if they saw fit, was to not take sides which would have inevitably alienated one driver.

          As well, a one-off wing incident when they only had the one wing and so they gave it to the driver who had been having the most success on the team, was not unusual nor unprecedented, and even though it made for a good soundbite, let’s note that MW kept re-signing for the team after that.

  19. Dean Franklin
    15th January 2021, 4:51

    I think Albon would get closer to Hamilton than Bottas.

    Verstappen destroys every teammate. Best driver on the grid in my opinion.

    1. If you look at what Russel did in that Mercedes I doubt that Albon can match that.

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