Scoring points for the second Grand Prix in a row while Sergio Perez left Mexico with nothing but a repair bill, Martin Brundle bets Red Bull wish they “still had access to” Alex Albon.
Albon had a mixed weekend at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez as he went from P2 behind Max Verstappen in Friday’s opening practice hour down to P14 in the day’s second session.
Saturday was a repeat with the Williams driver again second fastest in the practice session but only P14 in qualifying.
Williams have brought out the best in Alex Albon
He, however, bounced back from that in Sunday’s Grand Prix as he raced his way to ninth at the chequered flag to secure his second P9 in as many races.
Up to 13th in the Drivers’ Championship and almost solely responsible for Williams’ seventh place in the Constructors’ standings, Albon’s performances not only in Mexico but throughout the season have earned him widespread praise.
Even Red Bull added their voices to that with Helmut Marko and Christian Horner applauding his progress earlier this season.
That led to suggestions Red Bull could knock on Albon’s door if, or when, they’re done with Perez and his struggles.
That, however, is not on the cards with Albon contracted to Williams for another two seasons with Brundle saying he bets Red Bull wish they could have him back.
“He’s settled there [at Williams] and he feels comfortable,” the former F1 driver told Sky Sports.
“It’s the stick and the carrot – some drivers do need an arm round their shoulder and reassurance and to be listened to carefully and to feel they’re valued within a team.
“I bet Red Bull wish they still had access to him.”
Brundle, however, reckons Perez will survive to tackle another season with Red Bull but says he does need a few decent races to end this year.
“Red Bull know that Mercedes and Ferrari and McLaren and co will be coming at them next year and they need two drivers on their best form,” he said.
“There’s a question of, there is a contract and Red Bull want him in the car, he wants to be in the car, Formula 1 need him in the car, just look at this place.
“Everybody wants that to work apart from a handful of racing drivers who fancy his seat.
“Can Red Bull afford to take Sergio into next year if he’s just not on form?
“On balance, if I had to put money on it right now I would say he will be in the Red Bull next year and he will be at this race next year in a Red Bull. That would be my position right now.
“My goodness, he does need some decent races in these last handful.”
Impatience cost Sergio Perez in Mexico
Albon’s impressive performance in Mexico came as Perez suffered yet another wretched race, this time out on the opening lap in front of his home crowd.
Lining up fifth, he made a great start and using the slipstream overtook Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz before trying to pass Charles Leclerc together with Max Verstappen into Turn 1.
But instead of pulling off an incredible move, he turned in on Leclerc and crashed into him.
Perez’s crash suffered race-ending damage with Danica Patrick saying he should’ve been more patient knowing he’s in a car that has the pace to finish on the podium.
“Sergio, he had a run and I understand you’re trying to do what you can with that run. Maybe he thought that Charles was going to lift because he had momentum,” she said.
“But at the end of the day, the last one in is first one out and three wide not going to work .
“He’s got to just trust that he has an incredible car. He has a Red Bull car, just be patient and let the race play out a little bit and get a solid finish and get on the podium.”
Jenson Button, though, feels Perez had to go for it, either that or run off the track.
“This is the issue when you have cars that start really well and cars they don’t start so well, and the drag is so long to Turn One,” said the 2009 World Champion.
“What is Checo supposed to do? He couldn’t just lift off in the corner and pull in behind.
“Looking at that there were cars there so they would have had the opportunity to dive down outside of him and cause mayhem.
“It’s a tricky one but it’s when you get to that point of deciding I’m going to turn in now but I need to give the room, maybe I just run off track a bit and come back on.”
Patrick believes he “should have lifted and pulled in a bit next to Carlos and then two by two and it’s still a good start.”