Alexander Albon says the Pirelli test day helped him get more comfortable with the Red Bull Racing F1 car for a smoother Japanese GP.

Thrown into Red Bull after just half a season at Toro Rosso, Albon had little experience when he not only joined the team and also when he replaced Pierre Gasly to become Max Verstappen’s teammate for rest of the 2019 F1 season.

However, he has been quick to adapt than Gasly to a certain extent, showing his prowess in Japanese GP at Suzuka, finishing fourth – which is his best-ever result – and continuing his run of being the highest scoring Red Bull driver over the past several races.

The Thai racer, however, partially credits to a test that the team ran for Pirelli at Barcelona last week as the cause for finding his comfort with the Red Bull car from FP1 itself. “I’m happy with finishing fourth, I’m more happy with qualifying even though it was sixth.

“I’m starting to feel a bit more comfortable in the car now and even just doing the Pirelli test that I did on Monday helps with that so just more mileage in the car is always good for me. I just felt more comfortable in the car from FP1 [itself].

“And also have the car a bit more under me and it felt like I could do what I wanted. As soon as you get confident, that’s where the laptime is and I just felt really confident at a track where you need it, so it was a good Suzuka weekend,” said Albon.

The idea now is to continue with the upward trend in Mexico this weekend as well as he remains in contention to secure a Red Bull seat for next year. He has Toro Rosso drivers Daniil Kvyat and Gasly in the opposition for the drive.

“I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself but I think historically we have always been quick around there [Mexico] so we’ll give it a go,” said Albon. “I am focusing on myself really and treating each weekend as it comes, I don’t want to think too much about the seat. Time will tell, that’s obviously the goal.”

Here’s what Alexander Albon and Lando Norris stated after Japanese GP tangle

Vettel, Albon & Ocon complete extra Pirelli 2020 F1 tyre test

Sainz proud to keep Leclerc behind and match Albon on pace at Suzuka

Japanese GP: Key statistics and information from 2019 F1 race

Vips gets Super Formula drive at Suzuka, to replace O’Ward

The story was written by Duncan Leahy and edited by Darshan Chokhani