As Alex Albon watches Formula 1 from the sidelines this season, Frederic Vasseur reckons that the young British-Thai racer was unlucky to have been paired up with Max Verstappen so early in his career.
Albon was promoted to Red Bull Racing halfway through his first Formula 1 season, and struggled alongside the Dutch driver for the following 18 months before being dropped by Red Bull as part of their race driver line-up.
He is currently reserve driver for Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri, as well as racing a Ferrari, with Red Bull backing, in DTM.
"Albon was a pure talent for me in all junior categories," Vasseur told RacingNews365.com in an exclusive interview. "He was also one of the best performing drivers in karting, but he was a bit unlucky to be paired up with Max Verstappen."
Albon's performances have been put in much sharper context this season, with the seasoned veteran Sergio Perez also struggling for consistent form alongside Verstappen. While the Mexican has managed some great race results, including a race win in Azerbaijan, his season has been tough more often than not.
Albon claimed his maiden DTM win over last weekend, taking victory in the second race at the Nurburgring after also taking his maiden pole in the series. Highlighting his talents outside of F1, with rumours also linking him with an IndyCar switch, Vasseur believes Albon was undone by timing.
"Guys from the Verstappen/Gasly/Ocon generation, they are doing a good job," he said. "But all these guys, they arrive at the top at the same stage and for F1, for sure you will have always perhaps one or two teams dominating the system, but at least you will have five or six drivers at the top."