Christian Horner revealed that Red Bull Racing apologised to Alexander Albon in Hungarian GP as he also explained how Max Verstappen crashed.
Ever since the second round at Red Bull Ring and with Sebastian Vettel’s availability, Albon has come under tremendous pressure from all corners, especially considering the gap to Verstappen. From Austria to Hungary, the talk around him continued on.
The matters got worse when Albon was knocked out in Q2 as Red Bull had a terrible Saturday but the Thai fought back well to end up fifth, just behind Racing Point’s Lance Stroll. Even teammate Verstappen did well to finish second after a rocket start.
Williams’ George Russell created a slight controversy when he defended Albon, which prompted Verstappen to defend Red Bull. With pressure only mounting on the Thai, Horner came to his rescue as he revealed that the team even apologised to him on Saturday.
He reiterated about the potential Albon has and compared him with Verstappen, with the difference of only experience. “I’m very pleased with Alex,” said Horner to Sky Sports. “I think that he’s picked up a bit of criticism that has been very, very harsh on him.
“In qualifying, we made a mistake in the timing, we put too much pressure on him, and we have to take responsibility for that. We apologised to him and he’s done a great job in the race. He made the passing maneuvers he needed to, he’s responded very well, and I think Alex has a lot more potential that we just haven’t uncovered yet.
“The car’s very difficult at the moment, and Max has the ability to drive around those problems. His DRS wasn’t even working into Turn 1 if you look at his qualifying lap from. If it’s totally sideways he’s able to catch it, and that’s experience on Max’s side that Alex doesn’t yet have.
“The only way to get that is to do the events, get through the motions, and he will get – and is getting – stronger and stronger,” summed up Horner. Albon, in fact, was calm after the race as he felt he could see the car much better in the race than qualifying.
“Actually, the race car was so much better than the qualifying car,” said Albon. “I think we spend the whole race in traffic, the moments we were in clear air, we were quite competitive. It is a weird scenario but we are not going to complain about it.
“It shows that there is potential in the car, we just need to understand where it is.” For now, Albon doesn’t seem under threat, considering Red Bull is seemingly putting down the Vettel rumours and neither Pierre Gasly, nor Daniil Kvyat looking to step up.
However, Albon, will need to be consistently in the top half to convince Red Bull. He has been close to a podium but will need couple or more this year for his own good. At the same time, Verstappen is only showing his class, driving the RB16 to the maximum.
Following his pre-race crash at Hungaroring, the Dutchman did a superb job to end up second and separate the two Mercedes drivers. Horner explained what led to the hit as the Dutchman was trying to find grip at high-speed and did not anticipate the conditions.
“I was watching the out lap on the monitor and saw Max run wide at turn six/seven,” wrote Horner in his post-race column. “He was pushing to find out where the grip was and trying to synchronise eighth gear on the run down to turn 12, which means you have to be flat-out to get that synchronisation.
“The circuit was more slippery than he thought, and the tyres were pretty cold, nobody could quite believe their eyes when he went off into the barrier. Luckily, he managed to keep the engine running and reverse out of the barrier.”
Eventually, Red Bull were able to fix the issue which got applauds from everyone on the grid and even surprised his rivals like Lewis Hamilton. Not just Verstappen but Horner had heaps of praise for the bunch as he felt, only they could have fixed it in short time.
Here’s Max Verstappen explaining what led to the crash
Here’s details of the post-race investigations including Red Bull
Here’s Max Verstappen responding to George Russll