Alex Albon’s performances in his first full season at Red Bull were not enough to secure a seat at the team in 2021. Here are the facts and statistics from Albon’s 2020 season.
It was always going to be a difficult ask for Alex Albon – who was promoted to the Red Bull team with just twelve Grands Prix worth of experience – to be a match for his more established team-mate Max Verstappen. The deficit was clear from the off, and Verstappen’s advantage in qualifying over the season ultimately worked out at around two tenths per sector. There were only two qualifying sectors in which Albon set faster times than Verstappen all year.
Albon did show promise at points over the season. In the first race – the Austrian Grand Prix – he came close to victory. On fresher tyres than those around him, he scythed through the field after a late-race Safety Car period – only to be taken out of contention in a collision with Lewis Hamilton, in scenes which were not too dissimilar to the collision which robbed him of a first podium finish at last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix. Albon recorded two podium finishes, with third places in the Tuscan and Bahrain Grands Prix.
Those two podiums were not enough to secure a seat at the team in 2021. One of the main storylines over the year was Albon’s fate for 2021, especially with Sebastian Vettel departing Ferrari and Nico Hulkenberg’s super-sub performances. Post-season, Red Bull opted to sign Sergio Perez as Verstappen’s team-mate for next year, with Albon stepping down to reserve driver duties. It has been a whirlwind two years for the British-Thai driver, and it remains to be seen whether this will be a break or a permanent end to his time in Formula 1.
A STATISTIC FROM EVERY GRAND PRIX
Austria: Alex Albon retired from the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix with power unit problems. With Albon’s team-mate Verstappen also retiring, this was the first time since 2014 that Red Bull failed to score at the first Grand Prix of the season, and the first time in their history that they have not scored at their home track.
Styria: Alex Albon scored twelve points with his fourth place finish at the 2020 Styrian Grand Prix. That took his career points total to 104, making him the 82nd driver to have scored 100 points in their Formula 1 career.
Hungary: At the Hungarian Grand Prix, Alex Albon failed to reach Q3 for the first time since the 2019 Russian Grand Prix. His Q2 exit marked only the third time in the last twelve years that a Red Bull driver has failed to reach Q3 at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Albon qualified in thirteenth place – the team’s worst qualifying result at the Hungaroring since David Coulthard qualified in the same position in 2008.
Britain: Alex Albon dropped out in Q2 at the 2020 British Grand Prix, recording Red Bull’s first failure to qualify in the top ten at the British Grand Prix since Daniel Ricciardo was eliminated in Q1 in 2017.
70th Anniversary: Alex Albon finished fifth in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, recording the best ever finish for a Thai driver at Silverstone. The previous best result for a Thai driver at the circuit was seventh, scored by Prince Bira at the 1953 British Grand Prix.
Spain: Alex Albon finished eighth for the second time in three races. The 2020 Spanish Grand Prix was the thirteenth consecutive race in which Albon has been out-qualified by his team-mate – the longest active out-qualification streak on the grid.
Belgium: Alex Albon finished sixth, ensuring that the 2020 Belgian Grand Prix would be the first time since 2016 that both Red Bull drivers have reached the chequered flag at Spa, as well as the first time that both of the team’s drivers have scored at the event since 2014.
Italy: Alex Albon maintained his 100% Q3 appearance record at Monza. The only other drivers with a 100% Q3 appearance rate here are Lance Stroll and Sebastien Bourdais. On Sunday, Albon finished in a lowly fifteenth. The last time that a Red Bull driver finished outside of the points at the Italian Grand Prix without retiring was in 2008, when David Coulthard finished sixteenth.
Tuscany: With third place at Mugello, Alex Albon recorded the first podium finish of his career. Albon is the first Thai driver to finish in the top three in World Championship history. The country’s previous best result was fourth, recorded four times in total – twice by Prince Bira, and twice by Albon. Albon becomes the seventh Red Bull driver to have finished on the podium and is the ninth different driver to finish in the top three in 2020.
Russia: Alex Albon picked up a five place grid penalty at the 2020 Russian Grand Prix and started fifteenth on the grid. He gained five places in the race; the most positions he had gained in a race since the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Eifel: At the Eifel Grand Prix, Alex Albon recorded his first DNF since the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix. It was Red Bull’s first retirement at the Nurburgring since both cars failed to finish the 2006 European Grand Prix.
Portugal: Alex Albon finished the 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix in twelfth place. Having retired from the Eifel Grand Prix, this marks the first time that Albon has failed to score at two consecutive races during his time at Red Bull.
Emilia Romagna: Finishing in fifteenth place, Alex Albon became the first Red Bull driver to fail to score at three consecutive races since Max Verstappen retired from the 2017 Canadian, Azerbaijan and Austrian Grands Prix. Albon is the first Red Bull driver to finish two successive races outside of the points (without retiring) since Mark Webber finished ninth at the 2009 European and Belgian Grands Prix.
Turkey: Alex Albon equalled his career-best qualifying position with fourth place at the Turkish Grand Prix. In the race, he became the 176th driver to lead a World Championship Formula 1 Grand Prix. He led a single lap, making him one of only five drivers to have led a single Grand Prix lap. The other drivers to have done so are Felice Bonetto, Pierluigi Martini, Antonio Pizzonia and Sebastien Buemi.
Bahrain: After equalling his career-best qualifying result on Saturday, Alex Albon equalled his career-best race result on Sunday with third place. Albon is only the third Red Bull driver to finish on the podium in Bahrain and becomes the 145th driver to record multiple podium finishes in Formula 1.
Sakhir: Alex Albon failed to reach Q3 for the third time in 2020, qualifying in twelfth place. It was the first time he missed out on Q3 since the British Grand Prix. This was the sixth time in the last eight Bahrain races that only one Red Bull driver has qualified in the top ten. Albon finished the race in sixth place.
Abu Dhabi: With Max Verstappen taking pole, Alex Albon became the only driver on the grid to be out-qualified by his team-mate at all seventeen races in 2020. Albon finished the race in fourth, recording the fifth top four finish of his career.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its sixth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and GPDestinations. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast.