Alexander Albon admits the performance and result at last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix was ‘a difficult one to swallow’ as the pace of his STR14 was not as strong as early indications showed.
The Scuderia Toro Rosso driver had started at the back of the field at the Red Bull Ring following a multitude of engine component changes and penalties but could only muster a fifteenth-place finish on Sunday, with the Thai driver feeling uneasy with the balance of the car for a second consecutive race.
Albon felt he lost a significant amount of time in the opening segment of the race as he fought through from the back of the field but ultimately, he ended well outside the points and with question marks about why the balance of the car was so poor.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t have the pace today, it was a tough first stint where we weren’t quick enough,” said Albon. “We weren’t too bad in the second half of the race, but we lost too much time in the first stint.
“It’s a difficult one to swallow because our long runs were looking quite good on Friday, and that’s two races in a row where we’ve struggled with the balance of the car, so we need to figure out where we can improve.”
Team-mate Daniil Kvyat endured an equally difficult afternoon as he closed out the day down in seventeenth position, with the decision to run with extra downforce not working in his favour. He found himself passed by George Russell early on and found it difficult to regain the position against the Williams Racing driver, although he did end up finishing ahead of the Briton.
“It wasn’t exactly the most enjoyable race of my life, although we saw it coming yesterday after Qualifying,” said Kvyat. “I was carrying more downforce today, so I was a sitting duck in the race.”
Kvyat says Toro Rosso will just need to put the races in France and Austria behind them and focus on returning to the top ten and the points in the forthcoming races in Great Britain, Germany and Hungary ahead of the summer break.
“It just wasn’t our day today, it was one of those weekends where we were far away from everything,” said the Russian. “We know we’re better than this, so we need to reset and move forward.
“We will put these two races behind us and try to extract everything out of the car in the next few races.”