Alexander Albon has the feeling that he gets to know the Red Bull car better and better, but finds it too early to compare his times with that of teammate Max Verstappen. The Thai will be competing in Singapore for his team's third Grand Prix this weekend.
"People may expect me to be very much comparing myself to Max, but that's really not the case," Albon said Friday at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
The 23-year-old driver replaced Pierre Gasly at Red Bull Racing during the summer break, because the Frenchman Verstappen was unable to keep up. He had to clear the field after twelve races.
It went fast with Albon, because the Thai was promoted to the main team in his debut season in Formula 1. "They know what my situation is at Red Bull," said the London-born driver.
"The team gives me a lot of room and time to improve. Of course I want to get everything out of the car as quickly as possible, but there is no specific goal. I don't need to keep up with Max after a certain number of races."
See also: Verstappen: 'We are fast in Singapore, but Hamilton is also very strong'
Albon is still trying things out
In the first twelve races of his career, Albon rode for Red Bull's sister team Toro Rosso. He quickly mastered that car and with his performance he convinced Red Bull to promote him soon.
The result is that he has to get to know a car again. "I feel that I am getting used to the car more and more. I do not approach the races as a test, but I am still trying things out," Albon explained. "I already feel comfortable."
After a series of European races, the last seven Grands Prix of the season will be held on other continents. Albon knows the European jobs well from lower racing classes, but the street circuit in Singapore, among other things, is new to him.
"I have a circuit here that I do not know and a car that I have not fully mastered yet", Albon pointed out. He was able to prepare himself in the Red Bull simulator for the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
"The feeling is different. In the sim, of course, you go full speed right away, while in real racing you build in some safety margins, certainly in the beginning."
See also: Only Hamilton faster than Verstappen in second training GP Singapore
Albon is not worried about next year
Albon says he is not yet concerned with where he will drive in 2020. "But if the results are good, I think it should be okay."
Team boss Christian Horner is very satisfied with the performance of Albon so far. "He only knew shortly beforehand that he was going to ride with us, but in Spa he was already impressive with his catch-up race from the back to fifth place," the Brit looked back.
"He also had a strong weekend in Monza. The whole team is impressed by him," said Horner. However, the Red Bull team boss also emphasized that his team wants to calmly see who will get the coveted seat next to Verstappen in 2020. Daniil Kvyat and Gasly are also still in the picture.
"We are not in a hurry, because all the drivers that we are considering are under contract. We can take the time to look closely and evaluate."
GP Singapore start times
- Third training: Saturday noon
- Qualification: Saturday 3 p.m.
- Race: Sunday 2.10 pm
See also: Five questions about the Singapore GP: 'Here, Verstappen stands out above everyone'