Red Bull F1 endured a mixed weekend at the inaugural Tuscan Grand Prix at Mugello. Star driver Max Verstappen was taken out on the first lap of a crazy race and had to retire.
However, teammate Alex Albon came up big on Sunday, securing his maiden F1 podium (P3) in a race that ended with only 11 cars crossing the finish line.
However, this might not have been his maiden podium appearance had things panned out differently on two occasions. The Anglo-Thai driver had the misfortune of being knocked out of a certain podium spot in Brazil 2019 as well as in Austria 2020. The perpetrator on both occasions, a certain Lewis Hamilton.
At the post-race conference, Albon was expressing his emotions of finally getting an F1 podium after a long wait. Knowing that he was the one to deny Alex on two previous occasions, Hamilton chimed in with an apology saying, “Sorry about that.”
Lewis apologising 😅 https://t.co/1BbEcpmI8w
— Ky (@FiftyBucksss) September 14, 2020
Alex Albon will be relieved after that performance
The Red Bull driver has been under intense pressure in recent times. Having been promoted to Red Bull midway through 2019, he has not really managed to nail down his spot.
Furthermore, the man whom he replaced, Pierre Gasly, has arguably been the driver of the season so far. Gasly achieved his maiden Grand Prix victory only a week ago, thus further increasing the pressure on Albon.
So it was vital for Albon to deliver a telling performance, and boy, he did. Red Bull boss Christian Horner had made it quite clear that the team is focused on Albon despite Gasly’s impressive performances.
But Albon would have known that patience with him would have been wearing thin. So a podium was a fitting reply to all his critics. It will certainly alleviate some pressure off of Albon. Moreover, the timing of his reply was pretty good, answering to all the Gasly promotion calls within a week.
But the 24-year-old will know that his job is far from done. He needs to catch up to Verstappen’s level quickly. This weekend was a step in the right direction for him. But he needs more consistency in his performances to retain his seat for 2021.
More of the same would be appreciated from him once the F1 action resumes on the 27th of September with the Russian Grand Prix.