Alexander Albon is “being made to look like an idiot” at Red Bull, according to rival and close friend George Russell.
Albon has struggled to get on the pace of team-mate Max Verstappen, qualifying four-tenths adrift in Austria and five-tenths shy in Styria, whilst he struggled again for pace in the race, finishing 11 seconds behind Verstappen who made two stops compared to Albon’s one.
Fast forward to this weekend in Hungary and Albon failed to escape Q2, qualifying a lowly 13th behind the Williams of Russell.
Verstappen too struggled with what appears to be an unstable RB16, but went on to take seventh, albeit 1.4 seconds adrift of the dominant Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton.
Russell can’t believe Albon is as slow as it appears having competed against the Anglo-Thai racer for much of his career, and believes something is going on at Red Bull which is making Albon out to be an “idiot” when that’s far from true.
“I’ve known Alex for the past 15 years, been in the same paddock as him, he’s one of the best drivers we’ve all raced – Max [Verstappen], Charles [Leclerc], all of us would say it,” Russell told Sky Sports after qualifying.
“He’s been at the front of everything he’s done. I don’t know what the hell is going on but I feel really bad for him because he’s being made to look like an idiot and he’s absolutely not.
“He’s won everything he’s done. So I don’t know what’s going on, but they need to sort it out for him.”
Both Albon and Verstappen have complained about the handling of the RB16 all weekend, with Red Bull breaking the paddock curfew on Friday night to try and address the issue, but it seems with little result.