For Red Bull Racing, the stage in Mugello was mixed. Max Verstappen dropped out at the start of the race and Alexander Albon took the podium for the first time. Team leader Christian Horner summed up the results of the weekend on Sky Sports F1.
Question: An eventful day, isn’t it? Let’s start with Alex Albon, for sure everyone in the team is happy about his podium, right?
Christian Horner: I am very happy for Alex. He was under fire, but he rallied his strength and achieved an excellent result. In the previous two Grand Prix, he gradually progressed, but here he had to try very hard to earn his first podium. It was not easy on restarts, but Alex can be safely called a master of attacks along the outer radius!
Question It looks like he has a brilliant sense of which trajectory to direct the car, he carried out every attack literally on the verge – it’s impressive!
Christian Horner: I agree, Alex perfectly feels the car and selects the right moment to attack. Daniel Riccardo previously played for our team, getting ahead of him in the outer radius and preventing a counterattack is expensive! Alex worked great!
Question: In life, Alex is a nice young man, he is kind and correct. Surely the podium will add confidence to him, do you think?
Christian Horner: Sometimes Alex is too kind, but as soon as he puts on a helmet, he turns into an uncompromising fighter. And there is a big difference between a situation where you think you can achieve a result, and a situation where you absolutely know that you can do it. This podium will give Alex confidence and help his progress.
Q: It seems that he managed to achieve an understanding with the engineers, the settings and behavior of the machine are now more in line with his preferences …
Christian Horner: Alex has a great feel for the car and gives detailed feedback on its behavior, which earned him the respect of his engineers. Their joint work is becoming more and more effective, and with the new products that the team is preparing, Alex will certainly be able to add more.
It seems that the slightly unstable rear end behavior inherent in our car, which did not affect Max Verstappen’s aerobatics in any way, but hindered both Alex this season and Pierre Gasly in the previous one, for Alex is not such a problem now – he learned to cope better with it.
Q: What happened to Max Verstappen at the start? We saw how the mechanics worked with his car on the starting grid, and then in the first meters of the race it clearly lacked power …
Christian Horner: The problem that the mechanics on the starting grid were dealing with was the rear light signal and had nothing to do with the power plant. On the setting circle, everything was in order, then Max had a great start, practically ahead of Lewis, but the next moment there were problems with the electronics. It’s a shame, because Max was focused on the fight, our car was fast enough at a distance, and if not for these troubles, the race would not have been so easy for Mercedes.
Question: Alex did not start perfectly either, his car did not immediately take off. Any problems with the clutch?
Christian Horner: Honda and I need to reproduce the conditions of the start and understand why in the first meters of the race the power plant did not give all the power. We need to sort out the situation together and make progress.