Alex Albon Explains Why Max Verstappen Is So Dominant In A Red Bull
(Photo by Mark Thompson/Clive Rose/Getty Images)
— 28 November 2023

Alex Albon Explains Why Max Verstappen Is So Dominant In A Red Bull

— 28 November 2023
Garry Lu
Garry Lu

While not entirely unfounded, the growing contention is that Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen has only enjoyed historic success in Formula 1 due to blatant favouritism.

From preferential team orders and race day strategies to claims that its unrivalled race car (designed by the legendary Adrian Newey) has been tailored to his exact needs — it all points to the belief that F1’s reigning world champion has essentially been gifted each of his three titles.

But that simply isn’t true. At least not according to former teammate and Williams Racing talent Alex Albon, who’d certainly know better than the rest of us.

RELATED: 23-Year-Old Prodigy In Pole Position For A Seat With 11th Formula 1 Team

In 2019, Albon was famously promoted to Red Bull Racing from its junior outfit AlphaTauri (then Toro Rosso) as a mid-season replacement to Pierre Gasly; the latter himself being a replacement for Australia’s very own Daniel Ricciardo.

Similar to his French predecessor, when he failed to match Max Verstappen’s performance, young Alex was unceremoniously demoted to Red Bull Racing test and reserve driver, paving the way for Sergio “Checo” Perez.

Alex Albon Explains Why Max Verstappen Is So Dominant In A Red Bull
(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

So what’s the real reason behind both the revolving door of Red Bull partners and Super Max magic?

To make a long story short: although the car isn’t intentionally tailored to his exact needs, Verstappen seems to be the only one who can adequately handle its full potential — while everyone else suffers the more finely-tuned the race rig becomes as the season progresses.

“The first thing is, a lot of people say that car is built around him; he’s kind of like Michael Schumacher at Ferrari; he’s created this team around him. But truthfully, the car is what it is,” explained Alex Albon, who has since flourished as a driver at Williams.

“He is very quick, so what ends up happening is… he has quite a unique driving style, actually, it’s not that easy to get along with.”

“Everyone has a driving style, I would say my driving style is a bit more on the smooth side, but I like a car that has a good front end, so quite sharp. Quite direct.”

“Max does too, but his level of sharp and direct is kind of a whole different level. It’s eye-wateringly sharp and to give people maybe an explanation of what that might feel like…”

Alex Albon Explains Why Max Verstappen Is So Dominant In A Red Bull
(Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Albon continued: “If you play computer games at all — if you bump up the sensitivity, completely to the max, and you move that mouse, and it’s just darting across the screen everywhere, that’s kind of how it feels.”

“It becomes so sharp, that it makes you a little bit tense. So what ended up happening was, especially during my year, you start off being a little bit behind, but not by much.”

“And then as the season goes on, and Max wants this front end in the car — he wants his car to be sharper, sharper — and as it gets sharper and sharper, it goes quicker and quicker, and for you to catch up, you have to start taking a little bit more risk.”

“You might be a couple of tenths behind one session, you just try a little bit more. ‘OK I’ve gone off, I’ve had a crash.’ So then you’ve got to restart and you’ve lost a bit of your confidence, a bit more time, that gap’s growing a little bit.”

“Then the next time you go out and try and do another job, another spin or another whatever. And it just starts to snowball, and every time the car becomes sharper and sharper, you start to become more tense. And I think it’s like any sport.”

“If you start to not be in that flow state, and you really have to think about it, and every time you go into a corner, you don’t know how it’s going to react, you don’t have that kind of… it’s purely the confidence in the car, that flow, it doesn’t work. It never works.”

RELATED: Daniel Ricciardo Replaces De Vries At AlphaTauri — Is Checo Next?

As avid fans of Formula 1 can attest, there’s definitely evidence to support Albon’s claim — and not just in reference to his own brief tenure at Red Bull Racing; nor that of Pierre Gasly.

Over the past three seasons, current Red Bull #2 driver Sergio Perez has faced mounting criticism regarding his inability to replicate Max Verstappen’s results piloting what is ostensibly equal machinery (though perhaps not identical set-ups).

2023 was the most notable year of regression for Checo, who won twice and placed P2 just as many times within the race calendar’s opening five grands prix. From Monaco onwards, however, he appeared wildly inconsistent during the qualifying stages as well as when it was time for the lights to go out.

Heavy lies the crown. But even heavier rests the responsibility of standing by the grid king’s side.

You can check out Alex Albon’s full interview with High Performance above.

Subscribe to B.H. Magazine

Garry Lu
After stretching his legs with companies such as The Motley Fool and the odd marketing agency, Garry joined Boss Hunting in 2019 as a fully-fledged Content Specialist. In 2021, he was promoted to News Editor. Garry proudly retains a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, black bruises from Muay Thai, as well as a black belt in all things pop culture. Drop him a line at [email protected]


Share the article