Horner insists Albon is improving despite criticism

Red Bull Racing’s Team Principal, Christian Horner, has defended the efforts of Alex Albon ahead of the Italian Grand Prix and aims to give him a better car.

Since joining the team mid-way through the 2019 season as Pierre Gasly’s replacement, Albon has faced a great deal of scrutiny and has regularly been the subject of criticism for being unable to match his teammate, Max Verstappen in qualifying and race performance to assist in the fight against Mercedes.

He came further under fire from championship leader, Lewis Hamilton, after last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix where it was pointed out that “both drivers aren’t there like (him) and Valtteri are there”, leaving Verstappen “on his own”.

In response to the mounting critique of the 24-year-old Thai driver, Christian Horner argued on Friday whilst speaking to Sky F1 that “Alex is getting stronger, he’s improving.

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“The car has been tricky this year. I think it’s been a trickier car than last year but he’s getting to grips with it and I think his performance on race days, his race craft, his progress through the field has always been very strong.

“If we can give him a better car, as I think we did on Saturday in Spa then I think he’ll benefit from that in the remaining races.

“He works incredibly hard. He’s got a very good understanding of what he’s doing and what the car is doing and where he needs to improve.”

He also commented that “it’s slightly ironic that Lewis is the guy that’s taken him out of two podium positions” in reference to incidents that occurred in this year’s Austrian Grand Prix and last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix where Hamilton was found to be in the wrong by the race stewards.

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In response to Hamilton’s words, Albon insisted “I’m the hardest person on myself. I know the hard work happens between myself and the team.

“I won’t listen to what Lewis has to say, I know it’s the hard work back at the factory and over here that’s going to make the difference.”

He also seemed confident with his performance in free practice one and was looking to perfect the car for Saturday’s sessions.

“I was feeling okay in the morning session and the afternoon wasn’t bad, we just need to touch up a few things on the car for the low and high speed corners.

“We know we’ve got some homework to do so we can fine tune the car balance to where we want it to be but I think there’s potential to improve our package here.”

Albon is currently 62 points behind Verstappen in the drivers’ standings on 48 and has not beaten his teammate in qualifying as of yet.