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Red Bull says Albon had ‘strongest weekend’ as decision looms

Red Bull Racing will make a decision on its 2021 driver pairing “in the coming days” in the wake of Alexander Albon’s “strongest race weekend” of the season.

Albon qualified fifth at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix but passed Lando Norris in the early stages to run in fourth position.

Albon classified fourth but was within sight of the Mercedes drivers, finishing 1.5s behind Lewis Hamilton, with Valtteri Bottas only 2.4s further ahead.

Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen claimed victory in the race.

Red Bull has yet to determine the identity of Verstappen’s 2021 team-mate, with Albon and departing Racing Point driver Sergio Perez understood to be the two candidates under consideration.

“We’ve always said we’ll go to the end of the year and then make our decision,” said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.

“Alex had probably his strongest race weekend this weekend, which is encouraging for him, but we now have a full picture of the season. And we’ll make that decision in the coming days.”

Horner feels that Albon’s presence behind the Mercedes drivers meant the World Champions could not gamble on a different strategy.

“The only way you can put Mercedes under pressure… if for example they split their strategy we could have been very exposed,” said Horner.

“Certainly at the end of the race Alex was able to close on them [as] he obviously lost a bit of ground at the beginning of the stint after the Safety Car.

“Alex has driven a good race and he has had a solid weekend.”

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