Hungarian GP: George Russell says Alex Albon 'being made to look like an idiot' due to Red Bull car
Russell qualifies 12th ahead of Albon for Hungarian GP
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 18/07/20 9:15pm
George Russell has defended Alex Albon after unexpectedly out-qualifying the Red Bull driver at the Hungarian GP, insisting he's "being made to look like an idiot and he's absolutely not".
Russell's 12th place in the Budapest shootout was a superb result in the unfancied Williams, but arguably even more of a shock was Albon only managing 13th in a Red Bull which was fancied for pole position coming into the weekend.
But the RB16 never had the pace to challenge, with Max Verstappen only seventh, while it also looked to be difficult to handle with both Verstappen and Albon struggling to control the car.
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And Russell, who has raced against Albon through the junior categories and made his F1 debut alongside him last year, vehemently stuck up for the British-born Thai driver when asked about his performance by Sky Sports F1.
"I've known Alex for the last 15 years and been in the same paddock as him," said Russell after qualifying. "He's one of the best drivers we all race. Max [Verstappen], Charles [Leclerc], all of us will say it.
"He's always been at the front in everything he's done and I don't know what the hell is going on and I feel really bad for him because he's being made to look like an idiot and he's absolutely not.
"He's won in everything he's done. I don't know what's going on, but they need to sort it out for him."
Albon has endured a mixed start to 2020, his first full F1 season with Red Bull after impressively stepping up from Toro Rosso halfway through 2019.
He was in contention for the race win in the season-opener in Austria before making contact with Lewis Hamilton and spinning, and then was well off the pace in Spielberg's second race.
On Saturday, he was frustrated on team radio throughout, particularly when he felt he was released from the pits into traffic for his final, and pivotal, Q2 run - which he didn't then improve on.
"We need to figure it out a bit better," said Albon about the car. "There's not much to say."
Albon has been backed by the team to retain his seat for 2020.
Russell delighted with Williams progress
Russell continues to impress, meanwhile, in an improved Williams.
The Mercedes junior driver also qualified 12th in the rain last weekend but this performance in the dry was even more encouraging for him and the team, some 1.4 seconds faster than at the same track last year.
"The car came alive in qualifying in these cooler conditions and I had a lot of fun out there," said Russell.
"Again, I did not expect to be this fast, the car was feeling great and I had a good rhythm. It was a shame about the Q2 lap, we had some traffic and I think Q3 was possible today, which would have been amazing.
"But P12, considering where we were last year, was incredible."
'Clearly something is not working'
Despite looking as Mercedes' main challengers both at winter-testing and at the season-opening races in Austria, Red Bull have sunk into the midfield at the Hungaroring - a track they were expected to flourish at.
"I don't know why," said Verstappen, who claimed his first F1 pole at the same circuit last year.
"Clearly something is not working, compared to last year when we had a really good balance around here. The whole week has been really tricky and it's hard to understand.
"We tried a few things but it still doesn't really work. So of course a disappointing qualifying."
Watch the Hungarian GP live only on Sky Sports F1 this weekend. Sunday's race begins at 2.10pm. Get Sky F1 for an extra £10 a month now.