Belgian Grand Prix – Red Bull Racing’s newly promoted Alex Albon said he spent his Friday practice ‘re-wiring his brain’ to drive his new car.
With Alex Albon stepping up to the Red Bull team for the rest of the year, he never got the opportunity to drive the RB15 before the first practice session at Spa-Francorchamps.
This meant that FP1 saw him take his time to learn how the car handled and he slowly ramped up his pace to finish the morning session less than a tenth behind teammate Max Verstappen and in P4 overall.
Heading into the second session, the Red Bulls didn’t appear quite as comfortable and Albon finished the day down in P10 – just under 0.4 down on Verstappen’s best time of the session.
Albon explained that his day was one of learning, rather than pushing: “It’s quite hard to say really how it went. Just finding my feet really, understanding the car. It does feel very different to the Toro Rosso so I was just understanding the positives and learning how the team work and how the car works.”
Asked about whether he found anything about the car or its capabilities surprising compared to the Toro Rosso, he said: “Nothing really, nothing specifically. It’s just you’ve got the driving style you learn at Toro Rosso and you spend six months driving that way and you come to the Red Bull car and you’ve got a memory of what the other car was like. You have to kind of re-wire your brain to start from zero again and go again. It’s not one thing in particular…”
“Today was exciting, a bit like your first day at school, and it felt pretty good.” continued Albon.
With Albon confirmed as taking a grid penalty for Sunday, there’s a slight alleviation of pressure on him for his first weekend, and he said the concentration at the moment is how best to prepare for Sunday’s race: “I can see it’s a nice car to drive and it’s quick, now I just need to get used to it. In the morning, FP1 was pretty good, it was just baby steps really, then in the afternoon we focused more on long runs as with the penalty, our focus isn’t so much on short run pace but more on Sunday. The Team have been very kind to me and so I feel quite at home with the guys. I don’t have any expectations or a finishing goal, I just want to do a good job for Sunday.”