It was supposed to be a race of redemption for Alex Albon on Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Instead, it turned into a no-show for Red Bull, who went home empty-handed without points.
After Max Verstappen’s unlucky tire blowout, all eyes were on Albon to guide the RB16 past the finish and at least claim P5. But, an unforced error from his end, saw him finish last in the race.
And now Verstappen’s father and former F1 driver, Jos Verstappen has talked about the importance of a strong teammate for his son. He believes that having a solid second driver is crucial, from a variety of tactical perspectives.
Jos Verstappen is quoted by Motorsport as saying, “At the moment I just don’t think it’s going well enough. Look, Max does need a strong teammate because then this race would have gone differently.”
“With a good teammate you also get more data in training. If you have two drivers who go their separate ways, that will yield more data.” said Max’s father. (translated from Google Translate)
There is a sense of reasoning behind Verstappen senior’s words here. A team could very well benefit with some additional insights, but the right experience to do so is also necessary.
From that point of view, someone like a Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez would be a better fit at the team. After all, a decade of racing in the sport does count for something.
As could be seen from the race at Imola, Mercedes were able to work well together in terms of their race strategy. Having two options to pressure the opponent, means there are a number of tire strategy calls available to the team.
In that sense, Red Bull are possibly the closest contenders to the dominant Mercedes. Having a duo of Max and Perez, for example, can put the heat back on Bottas and Hamilton.
And that would not see Verstappen sandwiched more often or doing the majority of the chasing. His abilities could well be utilized to build the pace. And challenge the two Mercedes drivers more often than not in the races.