Max Verstappen believes Red Bull should stick with Alex Albon as his team-mate, despite saying he was open to sharing the garage with Sebastian Vettel when the pair appeared together on Austrian TV earlier this week.
Vettel and Verstappen were both on Red Bull-owned Servus TV alongside Christian Horner on Monday in Austria, and Verstappen was asked about the possibility of partnering the four-time world champion. A similar situation arose on Thursday at the Red Bull Ring amid growing reports that Vettel could be a serious candidate to return to the team, but Verstappen says he wants Albon to remain alongside him.
“I was on the TV show on Monday, I was sitting next to Seb and I got this question,” Verstappen said. “I was just trying to be polite and nice by saying I could imagine it. I think at the moment the team is happy with both of us, and I have to say I’m really happy with Alex as a teammate.
“He’s a really nice guy in the team which is good for everyone. He’s good with set-up, so we both give good feedback to the team, and he’s a fast guy, so I don’t think there’s any reason to change. I think Christian and Helmut (Marko) can back that up. It’s also not up to me at the end of the day to decide these things.”
Verstappen also praised his current team-mate’s driving after his collision with Lewis Hamilton in Sunday’s season-opener in Austria, although felt Hamilton’s five-second time penalty was sufficient.
“I think Lewis didn’t intend to hit Alex, it’s unfortunate that happened,” he said. “I think it was a great move of Alex to go round the outside there; not many people do that, But it was cool to see. Even though I shouldn’t have seen that, but I was chilling in my driver room already!
“I think it’s quite normal to give that penalty and we were told not to look at the consequence of it. That’s the unfortunate part afterwards, because of course it ruined Alex’s race, but from my side he got a penalty, finished fourth, but Alex got penalized the most by losing so many positions.”