RACE DEBRIEF

    Red Bull’s sudden announcement that Alex Albon would replace Pierre Gasly from the Belgian Grand Prix showed just how quickly the Thai-British driver has risen to the ranks. Here, we chart how Gasly’s 2019 season has played out compared to Albon’s.

    The background

    In 2018, Albon took four wins, eight podiums and three pole positions for DAMS in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, and was touted to join Formula E before Dr Helmut Marko snapped him up for Toro Rosso, Albon having previously been a member of Red Bull's junior team.

    Pierre Gasly, on the other hand, was promoted to Red Bull having finished 15th with 29 points for Toro Rosso in 2018, including a starring drive to P4 in Bahrain.

    READ MORE: Albon to replace Gasly at Red Bull from Belgium

    Australian Grand Prix

    Gasly
    Qualifying: 17th (Verstappen 4th); 0-1 Head to Head
    Race: 11th (Verstappen 3rd); 0-1 Head to Head
    Albon
    Qualifying: 13th (Kvyat 15th); 1-0 Head to Head
    Race: 14th (Kvyat 10th); 0-1 Head to Head

    Gasly missed out on Q2 by half a second, running a single lap in Q1. He recovered to P11 in the race but struggled with tyres and turbulence. Albon lost control at Turn 2 in FP2 but bounced back to outqualify Kvyat. Kvyat finished ahead as Albon was overcut by his rivals and stuck behind Antonio Giovinazzi. Nonetheless, a solid debut.

    Bahrain Grand Prix

    Gasly
    Qualifying: 13th (Verstappen 5th); 0-2 Head to Head
    Race: 8th (Verstappen 4th); 0-2 Head to Head
    Albon
    Qualifying: 13th (Kvyat 15th); 2-0 Head to Head
    Race: 9th (Kvyat 12th); 1-1 Head to Head

    Gasly expressed that he wasn’t comfortable in the Red Bull after finishing eighth. He worked his way up from 13th but a late Safety Car halted his charge up the field.

    “Albon’s 12th place is not bad for a rookie in his second Grand Prix,” said Honda F1 Technical Director Toyoharu Tanabe after qualifying. Kvyat took a pit lane speeding penalty and finished 12th, but Albon kept his head down for points in just his second F1 race.

    BAHRAIN GP: Albon's spectacular view of Stroll's sparks

    Chinese Grand Prix

    Gasly
    Qualifying: 6th (Verstappen 5th); 0-3 Head to Head
    Race: 6th (Verstappen 4th); 0-3 Head to Head
    Albon
    Qualifying: 20th (Kvyat 11th); 2-1 Head to Head
    Race: 10th (Kvyat DNF); 2-1 Head to Head

    Gasly scored Fastest Lap after a late pit stop, but finished a minute behind his team mate and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. Albon crashed in FP3, pushing his car past the limit in practice once again. Starting 20th, he managed his hard tyres well to score a fine point, while Kvyat had contact on the opening lap and retired due to a Power Unit failure.

    Azerbaijan Grand Prix

    Gasly
    Qualifying: 15th (Verstappen 4th); 0-4 Head to Head
    Race: DNF (Verstappen 4th); 0-4 Head to Head
    Albon
    Qualifying: 13th (Kvyat 6th); 2-2 Head to Head
    Race: 11th (Kvyat DNF); 3-1 Head to Head

    Gasly started from the pit lane after a weighbridge infringement and sat out Q2, retiring from the race due to a driveshaft failure. Albon clipped the wall in Q2 and missed out on Q3 while Kvyat took sixth on the grid, unfortunately retiring as Daniel Ricciardo reversed into his car after the pair ran wide. Albon was pitted too late and settled for P11.

    CHINESE GP: Alex Albon's epic drive from the pits to the points

    Spanish Grand Prix

    Gasly
    Qualifying: 6th (Verstappen 4th); 0-5 Head to Head
    Race: 6th (Verstappen 3rd); 0-5 Head to Head
    Albon
    Qualifying: 12th (Kvyat 9th); 2-3 Head to Head
    Race: 11th (Kvyat 9th); 3-2 Head to Head

    Gasly struggled with grip and couldn’t keep up with the Ferraris in front, while Albon backed out of a battle with Romain Grosjean and missed out on a point. Kvyat however proved the Toro Rosso's point-scoring potential.

    Monaco Grand Prix

    Gasly
    Qualifying: 5th (Verstappen 3rd); 0-6 Head to Head
    Race: 5th (Verstappen 4th); 0-6 Head to Head
    Albon
    Qualifying: 10th (Kvyat 8th); 2-4 Head to Head
    Race: 8th (Kvyat 7th); 3-3 Head to Head

    Gasly started P8 after a qualifying penalty but recovered to fifth, taking Fastest Lap in the process. Albon took his best finish to date and chased Kvyat closely throughout as the two raced cleanly to secure points for Toro Rosso in Monaco.

    DHL Fastest Lap Award - Monaco

    Canadian Grand Prix

    Gasly
    Qualifying: 5th (Verstappen 11th); 1-6 Head to Head
    Race: 8th (Verstappen 5th); 0-7 Head to Head
    Albon
    Qualifying: 14th (Kvyat 12th); 2-5 Head to Head
    Race: DNF (Kvyat 10th); 3-4 Head to Head

    Verstappen was eliminated from Q2 after red flags, Gasly outqualifying him for the first time in 2019. Gasly started on the soft tyre and emerged in traffic after pitting earlier than his rivals. Albon was also caught out by red flags in qualifying, eventually failing to finish after damage from a collision with Sergio Perez and Giovinazzi.

    French Grand Prix

    Gasly
    Qualifying: 9th (Verstappen 4th); 1-7 Head to Head
    Race: 10th (Verstappen 4th); 0-8 Head to Head
    Albon
    Qualifying: 11th (Kvyat 16th); 3-5 Head to Head
    Race: 15th (Kvyat 14th); 3-5 Head to Head

    Gasly dropped time in Q3 on both of his runs and started on soft tyres in his home race, and looked set to miss out on points before being promoted to P10 in the final classification after a penalty for Daniel Ricciardo. Albon dropped back at the start and finished behind his team mate, who was using the new-spec Honda PU.

    FRENCH GP: Kvyat pressures team mate Albon for P14

    Austrian Grand Prix

    Gasly
    Qualifying: 9th (Verstappen 3rd); 1-8 Head to Head
    Race: 7th (Verstappen 1st); 0-9 Head to Head
    Albon
    Qualifying: 13th (Kvyat 18th); 4-5 Head to Head
    Race: 15th (Kvyat 17th); 4-5 Head to Head

    Gasly lack of pace was highlight once again as team mate Verstappen swept to victory. Albon made Q2 but had a grid penalty for taking the new Honda engine, while Kvyat was impeded in Q1. Albon finished 15th having started at the back, but finished ahead of Kvyat.

    British Grand Prix

    Gasly
    Qualifying: 5th (Verstappen 4th); 1-9 Head to Head
    Race: 4th (Verstappen 5th); 1-9 Head to Head
    Albon
    Qualifying: 9th (Kvyat 17th); 5-5 Head to Head
    Race: 12th (Kvyat 9th); 4-6 Head to Head

    After Sebastian Vettel collided with Verstappen, P4 - a best result of the season - was Gasly’s. He made it to Q3 and Team Principal Christian Horner said: “It’s good to see things coming together for Pierre who got his joint-best qualifying position of the year.” Albon’s car became an electrical hazard in Britain, so he was kept to a one-stop and finished behind Kvyat.

    2019 Austrian GP

    German Grand Prix

    Gasly
    Qualifying: 4th (Verstappen 2nd); 1-10 Head to Head
    Race: DNF (Verstappen 1st); 1-10 Head to Head
    Albon
    Qualifying: 17th (Kvyat 14th); 5-6 Head to Head
    Race: 6th (Kvyat 3rd); 4-7 Head to Head

    Gasly tagged the rear of Albon in the closing stages of the race, retiring as a result. Albon recovered to P6 in his first wet F1 race having been eliminated in Q1, furious at being stuck behind Lando Norris. Team mate Kvyat dominated the headlines with a charge to P3 in an incredible race.

    Hungarian Grand Prix

    Gasly
    Qualifying: 6th (Verstappen 1st); 1-11 Head to Head
    Race: 6th (Verstappen 2nd); 1-11 Head to Head
    Albon
    Qualifying: 12th (Kvyat 13th); 6-6 Head to Head
    Race: 10th (Kvyat 15th); 5-7 Head to Head

    Question marks surrounded Gasly again after Verstappen took pole position and finished second, winning the Qualifying Head to Head ahead of the summer break. Gasly left Hungary 118 points behind his team mate, his boss Horner still publically backing his driver. Albon qualified and finished ahead of his team mate, tying Kvyat in the Head to Head battles. Red Bull decided to swap Gasly and Albon from the Belgian Grand Prix onwards, in an effort to evaluate the latter’s performance, as they look to decide who wil partner Verstappen in 2020.

    2019 British GP