Alexander Albon insists he has no reason to panic over his pace deficit to Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen.
Although Albon enjoyed a strong opening race of the season before he and Lewis Hamilton collided, he finished a distant 11 seconds adrift of Verstappen during last weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix.
That gap however would have been significantly larger – around 35 seconds – had Verstappen not made a late second stop for fresh tyres.
But the Thai racer isn’t panicking, despite Red Bull’s Helmut Marko having a habit of dropping underperforming drivers mid-season with little notice.
“It was a poor start to the race in race two and that was more or less the main issue,” explained Albon. “So I don’t think there needs to be a panic.
“It’s just managing the tyres a bit better and knowing when to push, when not to push. That’s more or less it at the moment. I think once I get a bit more comfortable with a car the pace will come as well.
“I’m improving each [race]. I think coming here we have a much better understanding of the car, the car’s feeling good, it’s just about being up there and being consistent with it.”
This will be Albon’s first full season with Red Bull after he replaced Pierre Gasly in the middle of 2019.
Team boss Christian Horner this week defended Albon, accusing those who doubt Albon of having “short memories”.
“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 for victory,” said Horner.
“It just shows how people have a short memory in Formula 1 and they’re quick to forget things.”