While no one expects anything less from the Dutchman, Albon’s performance was a pleasant surprise for the Milton Keynes-based outfit. However, his statements following the qualifying session didn’t please former World Champion Nico Rosberg.
When asked what position would he like to finish on race day, Albon said, “I would be happy with first (laughs). But yeah, I would say… fourth would be nice. We’ll see.”
Rosberg, sitting in the Sky paddock, didn’t take to that response too kindly. The German opines that it is simply unacceptable for someone racing for a top team like Red Bull to have such low expectations. He believes Albon needs to be aiming for a lot higher than just 4th place.
He said, “I didn’t quite like that he was aiming for fourth. He’s got a Red Bull and so much can happen in the race tomorrow. He should be aiming for the podium and he can do that. I didn’t like that (comment) too much.”
The former Mercedes driver said, “He has had some good results and everything. But so far his Achilles heel has been qualifying. Last qualifying, he was one second down on Max, and today he was fifth tenths behind. Even fifth tenths is way too much after so many races.”
Rosberg believes the key to Albon retaining his seat is a consistent improvement in qualifying. “That’s going to make it or break it for him, in terms of keeping that seat for next year,” declared Rosberg.
Albon is under pressure from the man he replaced, Pierre Gasly. The latter has been one of the drivers of the season and even won his maiden Grand Prix in Monza.
Although Albon came up with a solid reply in Mugello with a P3 finish, the fact that he needs to work on his consistency is not lost to him.
The Anglo-Thai driver definitely possesses the talent, so if he were to replicate his performance from the quali today in the future, Albon could definitely fight for the podium and retain his seat for 2021.