After finishing eighth in last weekend’s British Grand Prix, Alexander Albon admitted the first lap collision with Kevin Magnussen made for a much tougher afternoon than he would have liked, with the five-second time penalty for causing the crash making for a tricky race.
Heading into this weekend’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone, the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver is hoping for a cleaner time of things after a stop/start event last week, and he admits his short run pace was lacking, something he hopes to address this time around.
Albon crashed in Friday afternoon’s free practice session and then sat out the majority of Saturday morning due to a technical issue. He could only qualify twelfth, which put him in the tight midfield battle, and his collision with Magnussen meant he was forced to fight hard to the end to bring home just four points.
“The race was okay,” said Albon. “The crash with Magnussen just made the race a lot more difficult from thereon. We were a pitstop behind and then we also had a five second time penalty, so it was tricky but on paper it wasn’t bad at all.
“We did a really good recovery and the pace was strong so that enabled us to get through the field. Obviously P8 isn’t where we want to be, but I think considering where we were after the opening laps it was a good come back.
“I think this weekend is mainly just about getting more comfortable with the car and getting on top of it. The long run pace is good, it’s just the short run pace we need to work on. The good thing is that we have the same track this weekend so we can directly compare what we learned and what we need to work on.
“We’ll try and get it dialled in and focus on the areas we struggled with last weekend.”
Albon feels the current day Formula 1 cars enable drivers to attack corners such as Copse, Maggotts and Becketts faster than ever before, and with speeds expected to drop when the new regulations come into force in 2022, he believes he could be driving them as fast as he ever will right now.
“With the cars getting faster and faster each year, this could almost be one of the quickest times I may ever go through these corners,” said the Thai driver. “They just have huge downforce and some corners aren’t even corners anymore which is crazy to think.
“We’re pretty much flat all the way through Copse and we lift one time into Maggotts-Becketts, so that kind of shows you the speed nowadays.”
“It’s going to be a lot more of a strategy race this weekend”
Pirelli are bringing tyres one stage softer than they were for the British Grand Prix, with the medium compound of last weekend now the hardest compound available for this coming race.
Albon says this will open up more strategic options, and he believes Red Bull can profit from this having been strong on its tyres on Sunday.
“Tyres are definitely a talking point as what happens now we’re coming into week two is we have a softer compound on all three tyres so the hard tyre no longer exists and the medium compound becomes the hardest for the weekend,” said Albon. “So I’m sure we’re all going to have to play around with strategy.
“It’s going to be tough actually and it’s going to be a lot more of a strategy race this weekend. If the change in compound suits us or not, I’m not sure but I think possibly yes because we’re pretty good on our tyres we’re one of the few teams not to struggle with any issues like that.”
With hotter temperatures expected this weekend, Albon believes Red Bull will have a strong race-day package, and he hopes that the conditions can see the team close the gap to the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team at the front of the field.
“Well we’re good on our tyres and Honda are good at dealing with heat and PU cooling so I think coming into Sunday we’ll have a strong package,” reckons Albon. “I think we just need to work a bit more on our Saturdays and then we know we can have a good one this weekend.
“Still, we’ll need to focus on ourselves and work on the areas we need to improve. Obviously with the temperatures set to be higher this weekend, Mercedes should come towards us and if we can go towards them hopefully, we’ll meet halfway.”