Alexander Albon says his first day driving for Red Bull at the Belgian Grand Prix was about “baby steps” as he familiarises himself to new Formula 1 machinery.

The British-Thai driver was in action for Red Bull during Friday practice in Belgium ahead of this weekend’s race, following his mid-season promotion from Toro Rosso to replace the underperforming Pierre Gasly.

Albon ended up fourth-quickest and just a tenth adrift of new teammate Max Verstappen in FP1, before finishing 10th in the timesheets in second practice as attentions turned towards a long-run programme and race-day set-up.

“It was a pretty smooth day,” Albon explained.

“I feel quite at home with the guys, they’ve been very nice to me and it is very different [to the Toro Rosso].

“I could tell that already on Wednesday in the sim and you could tell it’s going to take some time to get used to.

“But once you are on the track and have the helmet on you can feel the G-Forces and you can feel the car a bit better, but it’s just baby steps really.

“Just understanding the car as it feels very different to the Toro Rosso,” he added.

“It’s just the driving style you have for Toro Rosso, you spend six months driving that way and you come to Red Bull and you are trying to remember what the other car was like.

“You have to kind of re-wire your brain and start to learn it and go again. It’s not one thing in particular.”

Albon will start towards the back of the Spa grid on Sunday after having Honda’s latest engine upgrade installed in his RB15.

Asked if the engine penalty has taken some pressure away, Albon replied: “Yeah you could say that definitely.

“I still would have liked to have qualified properly and seen where I would have gone, but obviously the focus now is not on the short run pace, it’s really trying to set-up the car for Sunday.

“So there is a bit of a more chilled out atmosphere but of course you still want to do a good job on Sunday.”

 

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