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Albon unpicks Verstappen: He's not arrogant, he's like Marquez

Alex Albon played a role in helping Max Verstappen to World Championship glory in 2021, having put in many hours on the simulator as Red Bull's test driver. But what did he learn about Verstappen along the way?

Alex Albon has compared his former teammate Max Verstappen's driving style to the approach of MotoGP rider Marc Marquez. Verstappen, who recently completed a second career Grand Slam at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, is currently on a fine run of form for Red Bull; ignoring races in which he has failed to finish, the 24-year-old has taken the chequered flag inside the podium positions in 34 of his last 36 races, and has won 14 of those. Throughout his Red Bull career, the Dutch driver has seen teammates come and go, with many failing to challenge him as the outfit's lead driver. According to Albon, that is down to Verstappen's unique driving style, leading him to draw comparisons to six-time MotoGP champion Marquez.

Albon: Verstappen's style is very specific

Williams driver Albon was one of the Bull teammates to be beaten by Verstappen, having raced alongside him on 26 occasions after being brought into the team to replace Pierre Gasly midway through 2019. But, while Verstappen stood on the podium 15 times during that period, Albon managed to place inside the top three only twice. At the end of the 2020 season, the youngster was replaced by Sergio Perez and reverted to a test driver role within the team, allowing him more time to study Verstappen's style. "It's a weird comparison to make, but if anyone watches MotoGP, think of someone like Marc Marquez," explained Albon, speaking to F1's Beyond The Grid podcast. "He has a very specific driving style and it works for him, and it's quick, but it's not always the easiest to follow."

Do Red Bull build their car to suit only Verstappen?

With Red Bull having trialled both Albon and Gasly with little success, the team have been accused of running a car suited only to Verstappen's talents. "If he's always doing well, there's no reason for the team to ever deviate to something else," continued Albon. "I think part of that was, when you look at the data, there's nothing that goes, 'Wow, this and this and this is incredible'. "Of course, he's on the limit, and he likes a car that's very much on the nose, and I think that's a pretty well-known thing. "It cannot feel great as a teammate. I think even Checo [Perez] found that out, last year and even this year. Most probably, [the] new car and new regs [have] rebalanced everything a little bit more. "I think Checo's doing a great job kind of up against him, but he's obviously super talented and likes the car in a certain way, and it's hard for others to follow."

Verstappen one of F1's "most straightforward" drivers

While Albon's spell as test driver allowed him to inspect Verstappen's data, their time as teammates also offered him an insight into the Dutchman's personality. "No, he's not [political] at all. He's very straightforward, one of the most straightforward actually," he added, when asked to profile Verstappen's character. "He has a lot of self-confidence, a lot of self-belief, which you would do if you won a World Championship, but even before then. He's in a position where he doesn't need to be political, because he can just do the talking on the circuit. "[Some] people see him as maybe [being] arrogant. I don't think he is at all. I think he's just very determined, very hungry, sure of himself, but he's not arrogant. "And he can just simply do the talking on the track."

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