Red Bull’s Helmut Marko places responsibility on Lewis Hamilton for Alex Albon’s turbulent Red Bull career.
The British-Thai driver faced significant setbacks towards the end of 2020 when Red Bull made the decision to part ways with him after just a year and a half alongside Max Verstappen.
While Albon initially impressed upon joining Red Bull midway through the 2019 season as a swift replacement for Pierre Gasly, his performance gradually declined during his time with the team.
Marko believes that a significant factor contributing to Albon’s struggles was the blow his confidence took from two missed opportunities resulting from clashes with Lewis Hamilton.
During the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix, Albon, positioned in second place, collided with Hamilton as the Mercedes driver attempted to overtake Gasly for third. This incident caused Albon to spin out and ultimately finish in 14th place. Hamilton received a five-second penalty for his role in the collision.
Similarly, at the opening race of the COVID-affected 2020 season, the Austrian Grand Prix, Albon appeared poised to contend for victory after making a pit stop for soft tires just before a late Safety Car intervention.
The repeated collisions between Alex Albon and Lewis Hamilton in three races took a toll on Albon’s confidence and self-belief, ultimately leading to his departure from Red Bull.
Marko, involved in the decision-making process, acknowledged the significance of these incidents and their impact on Albon. As a result, Sergio Perez was chosen as Albon’s replacement for the following season, bringing a fresh perspective to the team.
“Alex, I have to say, was really unlucky,” Marko told the Inside Line podcast.
“In Brazil, he was fighting for second position when Hamilton turned him around. Fine, it didn’t help Alex. But he lost his podium.
“And the next, which was more severe, was in Austria, when Alex was fighting for the win when, again, it was turned around by Hamilton. That hit his confidence massively… massively.
“Second, or even the win, was on the table. Someone took the glory away. That made it difficult from this moment, his self-confidence was down and we needed someone we knew to fight for the championship, we needed two solid drivers.”