Alexander Albon described Friday at the Belgian Grand Prix “like your first day at school” following his move in the summer break.
The Thai driver was behind Max Verstappen in both session at Spa-Francorchamps but impressed as he was only less than a tenth slower than the Dutchman in Free Practice 1.
The new Red Bull Racing driver said it was an exciting day but admits it will still take time to learn everything and get used to his new car.
“Today was exciting, a bit like your first day at school, and it felt pretty good.
“I kept it on the black stuff and I’m enjoying it.
“I’m just trying to take it slowly, get as many laps as I can and understand the car as I’m still learning.
“There are obviously differences from Toro Rosso so I’m trying to adapt as quickly as possible, I can see it’s a nice car to drive and it’s quick, now I just need to get used to it.”
Albon takes over Pierre Gasly’s engine allocation and will start from the back of the grid following the announcement in the morning that he is taking new engine elements and says that had a major impact on his track program.
“In the morning, FP1 was pretty good, it was just baby steps really, then in the afternoon we focused more on long runs as with the penalty, our focus isn’t so much on short run pace but more on Sunday.
“The Team have been very kind to me and so I feel quite at home with the guys.
“I don’t have any expectations or a finishing goal, I just want to do a good job for Sunday.”
Verstappen had another strong showing as he looks to keep his impressive 2019 season going and was third fastest in the morning before slipping back in the afternoon but states that they did have the power turned down on the engine during practice.
“The car felt pretty good today, especially the balance in FP2 and we are quite competitive in the second sector.
“We ran a slightly lower power mode on my side of the garage which lost us lap time, especially around such a long circuit, but tomorrow we should be back to normal and there is no point in risking anything on a Friday.”
Scuderia Ferrari look to be the favourites this weekend after a strong showing on Friday and Verstappen admits that isn’t a surprise but was happy with where Red Bull look to be.
“It will be hard to beat Ferrari around here as they are super fast but that is no surprise as this track definitely suits them better than us.
“We should be closer to Mercedes tomorrow and we will see what we can do from there.
“We still have a bit of work to do but in general I was quite happy with how the car was behaving.”