To begin with, Lewis Hamilton did not explicitly urge Red Bull not to shit on Alex Albon, nor did he imply it. Hamilton did urge Red Bull Racing to give Albon as much support as possible. Red Bull Racing is notoriously impatient with drivers who do not quickly deliver nor consistently meet the team’s high expectations. Drivers become victims as they are marked out as surplus to requirements. Oddly, if the management fails to deliver there is no falling axe, it’s business as usual until the next victory arises.
At Red Bull Racing only a Sebastian Vettel or Max Verstappen caliber driver survives. A driver who is 2-tenths less faster per lap and they are eaten alive by pressure. Brendon Hartley – out, Daniel Kyvatt – out – return, Pierre Gasley – put through a washing machine and hung out to dry. Alex Albon… as we often say, the next Red Bull victim in the making.
But Albon has performed well after being parachuted into to replace an admittedly malfunctioning Gasley. It’s always tough to be expected to immediately perform in a car that you haven’t driven before. But Albon has actually outscored Verstappen over the last 4 races. And he has been getting closer to matching Verstappen’s raw pace.
But it may not be enough because rumors are circulating that out of favor Renault driver, Nico Hulkenburg may well be a possible replacement for Albon whatever happens. And it doesn’t help that Red Bull has yet to confirm their 2020 driver line up.
That, in and on itself, is an indication Albon will not drive for Red Bull in 2020. Lewis Hamilton believes Albon deserves a 2020 Red Bull drive, a high-level endorsement indeed. Hamilton commented on Albon’s performance at the Mexican Grand Prix:
“I hope Red Bull gives him support over the years. It’s very, very important because they often spit drivers out pretty quick if they don’t always do the job. I hope they’re good to him.”
“ He was driving really well, not making any, or too many mistakes ”.
“I think this year has been… it’s a real challenge to go up against a driver that’s been spoken so highly of by so many people and built up onto a pedestal ”.
“It was quite cool to just sit and view him for a second. He pitted very early, I’m not quite exactly sure why but they obviously then went onto the two-stop strategy and I didn’t really see him again after that ”.