Max Verstappen was left wanting for more from Red Bull Racing after F1 Russian GP as Alexander Albon admitted the need of managing his weekends better.
The F1 Russian GP at Sochi Autodrom this year was a somewhat a rugged one for Red Bull. Both cars finished relatively high up and the team brought home a nice bag of points, but they lacked pace when compared to Mercedes and Ferrari.
In addition, had Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel not retired, the team likely would have finished fifth and sixth, behind both teams that they equaled in the races surrounding the summer break, and behind them by a considerable margin.
Even though Verstappen was fourth, the Dutch driver wasn’t hugely convinced as he felt that the car still requires some more work to be done and put out some of his frustration of not being able to fight for podiums this late in the season.
“We were clearly a bit slower but in the last part of the race, it was not helped being on different tyres,” said Verstappen. “Clearly, we were too slow. We maximised the results but of course we all want to do better and score podiums and potential victories.
“So we will look in what we can do better.” He also indicated that Red Bull didn’t improve as much from Friday until Sunday. In fact, his dad Jos has been reported by various media that Red Bull hasn’t improved much since the summer break.
It is unclear if they have stopped the development to focus on 2020 or few of the updates just haven’t worked. On the other hand, Albon had a positive race as he finished fifth after starting from the pitlane after his qualifying shunt.
He mostly focused on his own faults, citing a bad start to the weekend which he admits that he will need to work on for the future. “It feels like it is always that, FP1 is a struggle,” said Albon. “It kind of gets better through the weekend.
“By Sunday, it’s always more or less ok. I just need to get into that rhythm and that speed early in the weekend, but it’ll come just more laps. It was a tough weekend for everything but I’m happy with the progress.
“After obviously a tough Saturday I think that was really the best we could have done. I think, I was a little bit unfortunate with the safety car but still the pace was there, so I’m happy.” The Thai rookie has had good results with Red Bull on Sunday so far.
But he will need to get clear results on Friday and Saturday too. Team principal Christian Horner was pleased by his efforts though and also Verstappen as he reflected mostly on the best they could have done irrespective of the gap they had.
“It was a good performance from both of our drivers,” he said. “For Max, P4 was the maximum on the table having started from P9 and he made some great moves early in the race to move up the order. His pace at the end of the race was respectable.
“It was not quite enough to challenge the Top 3. Meanwhile, Alex, who started from the pit lane, performed well to make his way through the field, making some great overtakes in what was another mature drive. To finish up in P5 was an impressive race from him.
“So, fourth and fifth was probably the maximum achievable for us.” The team took an additional penalty in Russia, so as to be better prepared for Honda’s home race in Japan, where they would like to finish on the podium if possible.
Read how the F1 Russian GP panned out
Ferrari trio react to how the F1 Russian GP went for them
Williams retired Robert Kubica to save parts
Kevin Magnussen, Guenther Steiner did not agree with Russian GP penalty
Lewis Hamilton didn’t think medium tyres was the right strategy
Nico Hulkenberg, Daniel Ricciardo react to a sorry Russian GP for Renault
Carlos Sainz didn’t fight Alex Albon for Sergio Perez
The story was written by Duncan Leahy and edited by Darshan Chokhani