Red Bull Formula 1 chief Christian Horner has said the second seat with the team for the 2020 season is Alexander Albon's to lose as it waits to make a decision on who will be Max Verstappen's teammate next year.

Albon was promoted into Red Bull's senior team just 12 races into his F1 career in place of the struggling Pierre Gasly, who moved in the opposite direction for the Belgian Grand Prix after the summer break.

Albon has scored points in all six of his appearances for Red Bull so far, outscoring Verstappen and recording a best finish of fourth at the Japanese Grand Prix last month.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1 in Austin following opening practice for the United States Grand Prix on Friday, Horner was full of praise for Albon's progression since joining the team. The Anglo-Thai driver finished third-fastest in FP1.

"He’s getting stronger and stronger," Horner said.

"It’s a tricky track here, particularly that first sector, and seeing how he attacked it quickly, getting down to a time, he seems to be learning difficult tracks like Suzuka, Mexico he acquitted himself well, here he’s done a similar job in that first session. So far, so good."

Asked if Albon had the job for next year, Horner said it was "his seat to lose".

"He’s got his bum in it at the moment, and he’s doing a good job," Horner said.

"We’ve still got time to the end of the year, all the drivers [Albon, Gasly and Daniil Kvyat] are under contract for next year, so we don’t need to rush.

"Everybody’s been impressed with the job he’s been doing so far."

Albon confirmed on Thursday that he was yet to open talks with Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko over his 2020 drive, instead placing his focus on deliver the best performance possible for the team.

 

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