I had a little too much juice left at the end,”says Alexander Albon after the season finale of Formula One in Abu Dhabi. The Red Bull pilot drives a solid fourth place to the finish, just 20-seconds behind teammate Max Verstappen he sees the career flag. Did this performance suffice to keep his cockpit for 2021?
“Alex did a very good job today,” Christian Horner praises him in the “Sky” interview. This was probably his strongest weekend of the season, and he has run a good race,”the Red Bull team leader is proud. Already in qualifying, the Thai was close to catching up.
With three tenth of a second behind –on average he was about half a second behind on the Dutch on a fast lap this year –placed the second Red Bull on starting place five. He was able to hold this position at the beginning of the race and soon put pressure on Lando Norris.
“Had we only had a few more laps…”
The decisive maneuver followed in Round 6: Albon entered the duel against the McLaren pilot and then ran a rather lonely race. When in Round 10 the safety car came on the track after Sergio Perez’s failure, he went to the box after hiding to the Red Bull double stop.
“I had a little difficulty at the beginning of the second stint on the hard tire. I thought the boys were going fast, and when I heard how many more laps we were going, I thought I might have handled the tires a little too gently. I had a little too much juice left at the end.”
This also showed his lap times: Albon was getting faster and faster against racers and put Lewis Hamilton in place three more and more under pressure. From around 40 he built up his backlog on the Mercedes and the podium successively from almost nine seconds to finally 1,5 seconds.
“Had we had a few more rounds, In Round 55 his racing engineer tried to motivate him and he flashed, “You were a second faster in the last lap than Hamilton. Let’s go get him!” p>
Albon also asked him on the radio where Hamilton was slowest to go. Answer: Everywhere. I asked this because then you just know where to start a overtaking manoeuvre, where you have the grip advantage,”he explains after the race.
“Albon was, thank God, also in the swing to Hamilton,”comments Helmut Marko delighted at’Sky’. And Horner also adds: “Alex has put a lot of pressure on Lewis at the end of the race.” Has he now secured his future in the top team with this performance?
Marko: decision before Christmas
“We now have all the information, We will analyze them now and then decide.”When is an announcement to be expected? It won’t take much longer,”the British emphasize. Marko confirms: “We said we were waiting for the season. We have all the data. We will now analyze this calmly.”
Nachsatz:”And announce our decision before Christmas.”Besides Albon, there are only two alternatives for Red Bull: Sergio Perez, who has already been eliminated in round nine with engine damage, and Nico Hilkenberg. Hilkenberg is a candidate, but of course we don’t have that much data from him.”
What is Albon’s gut feeling? I don’t know, man. For me it was only a matter of going on a good weekend and then flying home to celebrate Christmas with my family.”Whether the performance in Abu Dhabi was enough to stay with Red Bull, he does not know.
“But of course I feel like I have given everything. Now it is up to others to decide.”He thanks all the employees at the track and in the factory, because they would not have stopped supporting him in a difficult year.
“We have always tried to find solutions to make me feel better in the car. Because the car is really tricky to drive. But we did push, and now driving my best score, after all the pressure this weekend, makes me proud. This is a good end to the season.”
“Albon has shown a very good race today”, also finds Mercedes team leader Toto Wolff in the”Sky”interview.” But Perez deserves to be in a car. So if it were up to us, it might be a decision. But everyone has to do it the way it’s right for them.”