Christian Horner has come to the defence of Alex Albon’s performance in the Styrian Grand Prix by insisting the sizeable margin to Red Bull Racing team-mate Max Verstappen doesn’t adequately reflect his efforts in the race.

After seeing his hopes of a maiden F1 podium in Austria a week earlier scuppered by a tangle with Lewis Hamilton late on, Albon enjoyed a less eventful second weekend at the Red bull Ring but found himself comfortably adrift of Verstappen in both wet and dry conditions.


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However, after climbing to fourth from his sixth place starting position early on, Albon fell away from Verstappen during the first stint.

Going on to hold onto fourth despite pressure from Sergio Perez, the margin to the Dutchman would have been around 30secs had Verstappen not reduced his pace in the concluding laps.

Reflecting on the gulf in performance, Horner was quick to defend Albon, insisting the team was always managing the pace through the first stint before pointing out his performance was comparable to that of Valtteri Bottas when he pushed on.

“I was asked some questions about Alex's early race pace, but let's remember that he came off the back of a strong weekend the previous week where he was challenging Lewis for victory,” Horner wrote in Red Bull’s post-race column. “It just shows how people have a short memory in Formula One and they’re quick to forget things.

“During his first stint on the soft tyre, we were concerned about potential blistering on the front right, so he was managing his pace to ensure he was able to achieve the target lap for his pit stop.

This meant he gave away significant pace to the cars ahead, but as soon as he changed to the medium compound, he was back on pace.

“If you look at the analysis, Alex was within a tenth of Bottas, who was chasing Max. He also did a very good job in holding off a very fast Sergio Perez at the end of the race.

“Alex's feedback is very good and he and Max work well together which allows us to try different things on each car and make accurate comparisons, which is what we did in Austria.

“Alex is improving with experience, he has a good feel for what the car is doing and that's very encouraging. We all want him to succeed and let’s not forget he’s only done 11 races with the Team whilst Max is in his sixth season.

“Alex has taken a lot of lessons out of Sunday's performance, so I don't think he should be down in any way because he actually equalled his best race result in Formula 1 and scored the Team a solid amount of championship points.”