Red Bull puzzled by Albon struggles in 'race of two halves'

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Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says the team is seeking to understand Alex Albon's struggles when running with high fuel loads, insisting his driver's Styrian Grand Prix was "a race of two halves".

Albon finished fourth in last Sunday's second race at the Red Bull Ring, but at a fair distance from winner Lewis Hamilton and well adrift from Red Bull team mate Max Verstappen whose superior pace even allowed the Dutchman to undertake a second pitstop to try and secure an extra point for fastest lap.

According to Horner, Albon was essentially set back in the first part of the 71-lap event during which the British-Thai struggled with RB16's heavy fuel load.

"Alex had a race of two halves," explained the Red Bull boss."I mean the first half he was struggling and then the second half, I thought he drove well and his pace was good.

"We need to understand that with him and hopefully help him get more comfortable with the car on the heavy fuel because his pace in the second half of the race was strong.

"He fought very well with Perez, who was the fastest car on the circuit – and at that stage three-four tenths quicker than Bottas, who had the freshest tyres."

Red Bull chief engineer Paul Monaghan noted a clear difference between Albon and Verstappen in how each driver adapts to their car's fuel load.

"We do a pit stop and bolt new tyres on and he says the car balance is very, very nice," he said, quoted by "The deterioration from that appears to be greater in its magnitude than it is for Max.

"Quite why we are not entirely sure yet. He suffered a little bit more and then, as you've probably seen on the telly, he picked up some front right blistering, and he was trying to protect that as well as be competitive and push as hard as he can.

"I think that whatever is causing it, we don't really know. But the drop off is slightly greater for Alex by the looks of it."

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