Red Bull’s Christian Horner has staunchly defended Alexander Albon in the wake of his performance at Formula 1’s Austrian Grand Prix.
Albon finished fourth at the second event, equalling his best result in the championship, as he finished one spot behind team-mate Max Verstappen.
But Albon drifted away from the leading trio during the opening stint of the grand prix, with Verstappen able to make a pit stop and still emerge ahead of his team-mate.
“I was asked some questions about Alex’s early race pace, but let’s remember that he came off the back of a strong weekend the previous week where he was challenging Lewis [Hamilton] for victory,” said Horner ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix.
“It just shows how people have a short memory in Formula 1 and they’re quick to forget things.
“During his first stint on the Soft tyre, we were concerned about potential blistering on the front right, so he was managing his pace to ensure he was able to achieve the target lap for his pit stop.
“This meant he gave away significant pace to the cars ahead, but as soon as he changed to the Medium compound, he was back on pace.
“If you look at the analysis, Alex was within a tenth of [Valtteri] Bottas, who was chasing Max. He also did a very good job in holding off a very fast Sergio Perez at the end of the race.”
Horner stressed that Red Bull “wants Albon to succeed” and highlighted the difference in experience between Albon and Verstappen.
“Alex’s feedback is very good and he and Max work well together which allows us to try different things on each car and make accurate comparisons, which is what we did in Austria,” said Horner.
“Alex is improving with experience, he has a good feel for what the car is doing and that’s very encouraging.
“We all want him to succeed and let’s not forget he’s only done 11 races with the team whilst Max is in his sixth season.
“Alex has taken a lot of lessons out of Sunday’s performance, so I don’t think he should be down in any way because he actually equalled his best race result in Formula 1 and scored the team a solid amount of championship points.”