Albon encouraged by Saturday showing in Abu Dhabi despite qualifying fifth

Despite being outpaced by team-mate and pole-sitter Max Verstappen, Alex Albon hailed his performance in qualifying for Formula 1’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as one of his best of the season.

The British-Thai driver has been under immense pressure throughout 2020 as speculation persists about his future at Red Bull.

However, the 24-year-old was able to see the positives after another qualifying where, on the face of it, he appeared to be soundly beaten by the man operating the same machinery.

Speaking to SkyF1 immediately after the session, he said: “Honestly, it wasn’t bad. I felt like it was probably one of my most competitive qualifying’s this year.

“Just disappointed from one-two [Q1 and Q2] because it was looking pretty good on the first run and then on the second run in Q3, I just pushed a bit too hard and the rears went through the lap.

“Yeah, frustrating.”

That’s now a clean sweep of qualifying defeats for Albon in 2020 who sits eighth in the Drivers’ Championship – 96 points behind Verstappen – despite having the second-best car on the grid.

And pushed to comment on his team-mate’s pole, Albon said: “Good for him. Yeah, happy for him, obviously. The car was good, and it was close out there.

“The Mercs weren’t as quick as anyone expected them to be, so it was all to play for.

“Obviously just a bit frustrating since it was looking good from the beginning.”

With Sergio Perez – the man rumoured to be in the running to inherit the potential vacancy at Red Bull – starting from the back of the field, this is a great opportunity for Albon to stamp some sort of authority on the seat he currently occupies.

And despite enduring what he described as a “frustrating” qualifying, the 24-year-old’s attention is now firmly on tomorrow, with Red Bull showing good race pace throughout practice.

“It’s been a good weekend for us, so we’ve just got to keep going and focus on the race.”

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