Alexander Albon believes he needs to make quicker improvements during a race weekend while he gets used to the Red Bull car.
The rookie was promoted from Toro Rosso to Red Bull during the summer break, meaning he has so far only had four races with his new team. Albon has finished in the top six in all four races but was struggling in the early part of the Russian Grand Prix weekend and crashed in Q1, and he says it takes time for him to get comfortable in the car at each venue.
“It feels like at the moment FP1 is always a struggle, and it gets better through the weekend, and by the end of the weekend it’s more or less OK,” Albon said. “I just need to get into that rhythm and speed earlier in the weekend. It will come, just more laps. It was a tough weekend, truthfully, but I’m happy with the progress.”
In Russia, Albon started from the pit lane as a result of his crash and delivered an impressive recovery drive to finish fifth, although he admits he had some stages in the race when he was finding it difficult to make progress through the field.
“It was quite hard to follow. I think (Sochi), the way it’s designed, when you’re following in a train, it really feels a lot worse than other tracks because it’s almost like a tunnel system. The air is stuck in one place, a little bit like a street track. The downforce loss was immense when you’re following.
“It just meant I couldn’t do those overtakes like I was used to at Spa and Monza, and outbrake people. Once it was just one driver by themselves that you could attack, it wasn’t a problem.”
The next race is Honda’s home grand prix in Japan and Albon has not yet driven at Suzuka, so is aware he will also be contesting with a new track as well as trying to understand the car as quickly as possible.
“I think only Abu Dhabi of the upcoming races will be a track I’ve been to. I know it’s not an easy track to learn, as well as still learning the car, but I’m up for it.”