Red Bull driver Alexander Albon is eager to perform in a ‘normal’ and trouble-free weekend, although he will be serving a 5s-penalty due to the fitting of a new ICE. Albon reflected on the past weekend, confident that he will have a bigger advantage compared to Singapore as he is more familiar with the track in Sochi.
“Looking back at it, it was OK -he said- It was not an easy track, I felt I was on the back foot for almost the whole weekend.
“Now we’re coming to Sochi, a track where I have been to before and it is not as technical – it’s still technical but not as Singapore.”
Albon underlined that there is no pressure on him over his performance at Red Bull, as his progress is part of a long process he is mainly focussed on at the moment. Therefore, the choice of Verstappen’s teammate for 2020 does not really sound like a concern to the rookie.
“I am receiving a lot of support from Helmut (Marko) and Christian (Horner), they have just let me find my feet and learn from the team, asking questions and all that kind of things. They are very open to me. Many would think there is a lot of pressure but there really isn’t, it is just about learning and see how it goes. I’m not really focussed on next year and that kind of talk, I’m focussed on the present time.”
“In the end, there are no targets for me. It is just doing the races. There is quite a few races to go (to Mexico), so they have not been pushing me in any sense like that.”
As for Verstappen, the Anglo-Thai driver said he did not pick out one feature specifically from his teammate: “I think the gap to Max has not been too bad, in Monza I was closer, but the track leads to it, in Singapore it was a lot more. It is still work in progress, we will keep going. Obviously Max is more confident and knows the car better and he is quick.”
Asked about what he expects from the Japanese fans at Suzuka, the venue of Honda’s home race, Albon said he had a little sample of the vibrant atmosphere at the Tokyo Roadshow at the beginning of the year.
“On a fan scale, it is going to be crazy! In January or February at the Tokyo Roadshow, maybe it was even March (laughs) or April, I don’t even know. It was incredible, have never seen anything like it, and now we’re going to Suzuka…I don’t really know what to expect but I’ve just heard many stories. I was thinking “this is crazy” at the Roadshow.”