Max Verstappen gave Red Bull his opinion on who should partner him for 2021, but that was purely due to his good relationship with the team.
Since stepping up to a Red Bull seat over the 2019 summer break Alex Albon had struggled to come close to the performance level of Verstappen, but he wasn’t the first driver to do so.
Before that Pierre Gasly had been given the first half of the 2019 campaign, but made way for Albon after a string of underwhelming performances.
And ultimately, despite a solid showing at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for Albon where he put late pressure on Sir Lewis Hamilton for P3, the Thai driver was also kicked from the Red Bull line-up at the end of the 2020 campaign.
Verstappen, then, has become quite the team-mate killer in recent years – not since Daniel Ricciardo has he had a truly competitive driver on the other side of the garage.
That is likely to change next season though with Sergio Perez confirmed as Verstappen’s new team-mate, fresh from a 2020 campaign where he finished P4 in the Drivers’ Championship and picked up the first win of his career at the Sakhir Grand Prix.
And Verstappen confirmed that Red Bull sought his opinion on a new team-mate for 2021, but that was simply due to the good relationship he has with the team bosses, not because of any special influence within the Austrian outfit.
“Of course, I gave my opinion,” he told GPFans Global.
“But at the end of the day that is purely because I have a very good relationship with Christian [Horner] and Helmut [Marko]. We can say anything to each other about racing, personal life.
“I’m not afraid of anyone. I don’t mind anyone sitting next to me. I’m fine with that.”
Verstappen added that he remains on very good terms with Albon.
“Alex is a great guy, I have known him for a very long time,” said the Dutchman.
“He had a tough path to get to Formula 1 as well but we have a very good relationship.”
Albon, who will serve as test and reserve driver at Red Bull for 2021, was recently asked by Ziggo Sport to give his opinion on Verstappen, as were all of his former team-mates.
“There’s no hiding, he’s a straight guy to be honest with you and there’s no issues, it’s kind of just who he is,” said Albon.
“I think especially his confidence and the way when he wants something you can see that. I can see how he works and how he operates, so yes I definitely see attributes to Max where he’s a strong guy.”
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