Albon says RB16 feeling ‘more balanced’... despite heavy FP2-ending crash at Silverstone
Far from being downcast at the end of Free Practice 2 for the 2020 British Grand Prix – which saw him crash his car heavily into the barriers at Stowe – Alex Albon was pleased with his start to the weekend at Silverstone, feeling that he’d been getting more of a handle on the performance characteristics of his Red Bull RB16… until that off, that is.
Albon was attempting a hot lap in FP2 when he lost the back end of his car going through the fast Stowe right-hander. He corrected the slide before the car pendulumed the other way, sending him hurtling backwards into the barriers and ending his session.
Asked how he was feeling after the crash, which brought out red flags and required him to visit the Medical Centre after triggering his g-force sensor, Albon replied: “Fine. I’ve had bigger crashes, but it’s okay.
“I’ll have to have a look at it. The rear went quite quickly. I struggled to correct it, I thought I had it then obviously [I had] a bit of a tankslapper as well. We’ll have a look at the data and see.”
Despite the crash – which admittedly disrupted the hot laps of several of his rivals – Albon ended FP2 with the second fastest time of all, a fact which appeared to sweeten the pill of that Stowe off…
“We definitely made a step as a team,” said Albon of his team’s performance on Friday, with the Thai driver having also ended FP1 in fourth place. “The car feels good, as we expected it would coming into Friday, but the car was hooked up straight away the first time we drove it in FP1, so it’s looking good. Obviously I think the Mercs are hiding quite a lot, so we’ll watch them tomorrow.
“But otherwise as a car, it feels more balanced. Obviously today though, the weather and the wind is so much different to what we’re going to get tomorrow, it will be a little bit of a reset starting then.”
Asked where the improved performance of the RB16 – which has shown a tail-happy tendency so far in 2020 – had come from, Albon replied: “I think it’s more an understanding from the team side of things, understanding the car a bit better, and also just driving style and adapting to the car a bit better. Obviously I say that – I still hit the wall! But otherwise there are a lot of positives to take from today.”
Having headed FP1, meanwhile, Albon’s Red Bull team mate Max Verstappen ended FP2 down in 14th, having had to abort his own flying lap when he came across Romain Grosjean’s Haas going slowly through the fast sweeps of Maggots and Becketts.