Alexander Albon hopes this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix is a quieter one for him, with his move to Red Bull Racing now old news compared to what it was seven days ago in Belgium.
The Thai driver made his first appearance with his new team in Belgium after being promoted to Red Bull having raced the first twelve races of his Formula 1 career with Scuderia Toro Rosso, and he did extremely well in difficult circumstances to finish a career-best fifth on race day.
Albon had started down in seventeenth on the grid having gone into the weekend at Spa-Francorchamps with an engine penalty looming, so his weekend in Belgium was compromised even before he got behind the wheel of the RB15 for the first time, so to claim fifth was an excellent effort in the circumstances.
“I’m looking forward to Monza and I actually lived in Italy for two years when I raced in go karts, so I have a lot of friends there,” said Albon. “Last week was a bit of a blur and there was so much to take in, maybe that’s partly why I looked so chilled!
“I kind of glided through the week, so now my first weekend is over I will take some time to reflect and see what I need to work on with the Team. Fifth was a great result but there are definitely things I need to work on and improve so I’ll do my homework ahead of this weekend to try and understand the car more.”
Albon feels the race at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza coming so quickly after the Belgian weekend is a good thing as he will be able to carry some momentum into this coming weekend and continue his learning and understanding of the RB15.
“Monza will really be a continuation of the work we did in Spa and I’ll keep on learning as much as I can,” said Albon. “I think it’s a good thing Spa and Monza are back-to-back races as after the race on Sunday, I jump in the sim on Wednesday and keep everything fresh in my mind ahead of the weekend.
“That way I don’t need time to re-understand the car.”
Albon says there will be more focus put into his qualifying simulations during free practice at Monza this weekend, more so than what occurred in Belgium, with race simulations his priority due to the grid penalties.
However, the Thai driver comes into this weekend with the likelihood of being the lead Red Bull on the grid at the start due to engine penalties coming the way of team-mate Max Verstappen, who is set for a back of the grid start.
“I think on my side we’re going to focus more on qualifying runs which is fun, whereas in Spa we looked more at race runs because of the penalty,” said Albon. “Monza obviously isn’t the easiest track for us, but I’ve driven the car now so I think FP1 will be a bit smoother this time around!
“I’m also more comfortable with everyone in the Team as I didn’t know many people before going to the circuit last week. Everyone is very friendly, there’s a great atmosphere and now it’s just about understanding how everything works. I’m guessing, and hoping, there will be a lot less noise and attention on Thursday so that it’s a bit quieter for me!
“As for the track, it’s actually not one that I love driving-wise. There’s just something about it but I still managed to fight for third there in F2 last year and I was a tenth off pole, so it’s not a disaster!”