It is no secret to all that Alexander Albon has had a tough year at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, with his future at the Milton Keynes-based team still unclear.
Hoping to continue some good form after finishing third two weeks ago in the Bahrain Grand Prix, Albon qualified in fifth place and would be stuck behind Lando Norris until lap six, when with the aid of the Drag Reduction System (DRS) he was able to claim fourth place.
After pitting for the hard compound under safety car Albon would re-join the race in fourth position, now with the buffer of Daniel Ricciardo between himself and Norris, as Ricciardo still needed to pit. Sadly for Albon, after a safety car restart, needed due to Sergio Pérez‘s retirement, the Anglo-Thai driver was unable to keep tabs with World Champion Lewis Hamilton initially and remained practically unchallenged for the rest of the race.
Speaking after the race, Albon admitted he was happy with his performance, with the last few laps seeing him edge closer to Hamilton ahead of him.
“I’m happy and I think if the race was a couple of laps longer I’d be even happier as I feel we could’ve got past Lewis and taken another podium today,” said Albon. “I was managing my tyres at the beginning of the stint and maybe I was too conservative as I had lots of life left in them at the end of the race whilst everyone else’s was starting to drop off. But overall it’s a great result for the Team today and I’m happy with my race.
“I’ve felt very good with the car this weekend and it’s probably been my best in F1. There was obviously a lot of pressure coming into this race and my only goal was to focus on my performance and do the best job possible so I’m proud of how I’ve delivered under the circumstances. It feels great to prove to everyone that I’m strong enough mentally to deal with all the external talk and keep improving.
“As a Team we haven’t given up, I’ve had a lot of support from everyone back at the factory and we’ve worked hard with the engineers to make me more comfortable in the car. Now I’m just looking forward to going home and relaxing with my family.”
Even under increasing speculation as to whether Albon will be at the Red Bull team next year, team principal Christian Horner was very complimentary of Albon’s weekend as a whole.
“Alex (Albon) had arguably one of his strongest race weekends of the year to finish fourth just behind Lewis and collectively this was a very strong Team performance at this venue.”