Red Bull Racing’s mid-season recruit Alex Albon has revealed he has had no expectations put on him to deliver in 2019.
The Thai driver was drafted in to replace Pierre Gasly following the Hungarian Grand Prix after the Frenchman struggled in the opening half of the year.
It saw the pair effectively swap seats, with Albon joining Red Bull following the season break at the Belgian Grand Prix and Gasly slotting back in at Toro Rosso.
Albon promptly recorded a career best of fifth before backing that up with sixth at the Italian Grand Prix the following weekend.
Ironically it’s seen him better Max Verstappen in both outings, the Dutchman having retired early in Belgium before charging through the field to eighth in Monza.
Despite a solid start to his time with Red Bull, and without any certainty that he will remain in the seat next season, Albon says neither he nor the team have placed any expectations on him.
“I haven’t had a list to do this, do that, be here, be there,” he said.
“Of course we want to take the fight to Ferrari and Mercedes, that’s quite clear.
“The main thing right now has been just trying to get up to speed and not put pressure on yourself and put expectations on yourself, so early in your time with Red Bull.”
Still in his maiden season of Formula 1, Albon and the team suggest the key to unlocking his performance is patience and understanding how to work with the team to get the most out of himself and the overall package.
“That has really been the focus, and really what Christian (Horner) and Dr (Helmut) Marko have been saying: Max is where he is because he knows the team, he knows everything about it, so don’t expect to be fighting with him straight away,” explained Albon.
“It will take time. And I do believe that as well, that’s how I see it.
“In terms of what I have to do, I don’t know, truthfully.
“I just want to perform at my best, see how I do, and I know I don’t have experience like other people.
“I do know I’m going to get better.”
“It’s just about giving myself that time and not stressing exactly that very thing of not putting targets on myself, and just letting the natural evolution occur.
“If that’s fighting for podiums at the end of the year, that’s great, but I’m not putting myself in that situation.”
Albon sits ninth in the drivers’ championship, tied on 34 points with Daniel Ricciardo and only a point clear of former Toro Rosso team-mate Daniil Kvyat.
Formula 1 continues this weekend with the Singapore Grand Prix starting on Friday.