Albon will be ‘knocking on door of podium’ with qualifying improvement, says Horner
Alex Albon has produced several brilliant recovery drives this season for Red Bull but boss Christian Horner has called on him to step up on Saturdays to find “consistency and confidence” in qualifying and provide the platform for him to finally score his first F1 podium.
“It’s his Saturdays that he needs to work on,” said Horner during the Spanish GP weekend where Albon qualified sixth to finish eighth, while team mate Max Verstappen qualified third on his way to a stellar second-place finish.
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“Hopefully we can do more to help Alex and as soon as he finds that consistency and confidence and he starts qualifying in position then with the race pace he’s has I think he’ll be knocking on the door of the podium before long,” Horner continued.
“I mean Sunday afternoons, he’s doing great: his overtaking, his pace, is everything that you could expect,” he said.
Those spectacular Sunday afternoons include a drive to P5 from ninth at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, P8 from P12 at the British GP, P5 in Hungary from 13th and P4 from P6 at Styria – and Albon also narrowly missed out on a podium from fourth in Austria thanks to a late collision with Lewis Hamilton.
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“His recovery at Silverstone, it was phenomenal. Some of the passing moves – you know some of the corners he was going around the outside of – you hold your breath. So it’s just getting him more comfortable with the car over a single lap,” added Horner.
But Albon himself wasn’t thrilled with his eighth-place finish in Spain, and is hoping for more in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps next time around.
“It was a hard afternoon and I’m not happy with my race,” he said. “It was really tricky out there and I just didn’t have any grip on any tyre compound. Each stint I was nursing and looking after the tyres but after six or seven laps I just had no grip.
"It was frustrating and the opposite to Silverstone last week,” he explained, having finished in a lower position than he started for the first time this season at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
“Now we need to understand why today was so different to last weekend in the race so we can come back stronger and improve for Spa,” he concluded.
Last year's Belgium Grand Prix was Albon's first race for the Red Bull team, having stepped up to replace Pierre Gasly, who in turn, took Albon's seat at Toro Rosso.