The Anglo-Thai driver loved his greatest weekend within the DTM on the former Belgian Grand Prix venue, ending third and sixth throughout the 2 races to consolidate fifth place within the standings.
The 25-year-old certified a career-best fourth in first qualifying on Saturday, lacking out on pole place by simply 0.171s – though a five-place grid penalty for not slowing down sufficiently throughout a crimson flag in observe left him ninth on the grid.
Albon elected to run lengthy within the first stint and was lapping faster or on the identical tempo as internet race chief Kevin van der Linde, aiming to overcut his rivals by operating in clear air.
The technique paid off, the AF Corse Ferrari driver returning to the monitor in third place behind the Abt Sportsline duo van der Linde and Mike Rockenfeller.
Geared up with brisker tyres, Albon shadowed the Audi drivers for the remainder of the race, coming shut to creating a transfer at a number of events.
In the end, Zolder’s lack of overtaking alternatives meant that he was by no means ready to make a cross, the trio crossing the road almost nose-to-tail in what was the closest end of the 2021 season.
This marked Albon’s very first journey to the rostrum, though he was retrospectively promoted to 3rd at Monza following disqualification for Mercedes driver Vincent Abril.
Talking after the race, Albon felt he may have simply received at a extra overtaking-friendly monitor with the technique he employed, such was his tempo benefit over the Audi duo.
“I feel we had an excellent tempo all weekend,” he mentioned. “We had a five-place grid penalty for qualifying which I nonetheless suppose was fairly harsh, it made the race slightly bit tougher.
“The beginning itself was okay, we didn’t make too many positions, however crucial factor for us was to get clear air. We knew we had the tempo so long as we stayed out in entrance – the degradation just isn’t huge like different circuits.
“We deliberate [our strategy] earlier than the race began. We mentioned if everybody jumps within the pits, let’s keep out in clear air and let everybody journey over themselves. And that was just about what occurred.
“In some other monitor we may have received this race, however Mike and Kelvin with their expertise don’t make errors. I used to be attempting to get them to make some however [they didn’t].
“Particularly following for thus lengthy, the brakes begin to get lengthy, all the pieces begins to overheat. Sadly P3 was the very best we may have executed.”
Whereas Albon was anticipated to be the star performer on Crimson Bull’s return to the DTM, he has been outshone by teammate Liam Lawson within the opening three rounds of the season, with the Kiwi at present sitting second within the championship after a win and two different podium finishes.
Nonetheless, Albon defended his outcomes in comparison with Lawson, saying he has been fortunate in most qualifying periods up to now – which then left him with an excessive amount of floor to make up within the races.
“I don’t suppose it’s particularly been a foul season,” mentioned the 25-year-old. “I struggled a bit in qualifying. We’ve had 5 qualifying periods [until Saturday], three of which I’ve been caught behind a automotive or had a difficulty.
“I wouldn’t even name this a clear run in qualifying, I used to be caught behind a automotive [again]. So I’ve by no means actually been capable of present what I can do. Theoretical lap occasions have all the time been up there however I by no means had an important qualifying.
“The races have been okay however you’ll be able to solely accomplish that a lot [after starting in the midfield]. After all, there’s some adapting to do, however we’re all the time just about up there in observe and races – okay, in qualifying, this was one of many first respectable ones I’ve had.
“It appears like we aren’t as unhealthy as others principally think about.”
Podium: third place Alex Albon, AF Corse
Photograph by: Crimson Bull Content material Pool
Within the first race, Albon stalled out on his manner out of the pits, shedding wherever between one to 2 seconds within the course of.
Each Crimson Bull drivers suffered related points within the earlier spherical at Lausitzring, costing Lawson the lead and doubtlessly a second win of the season.
Nonetheless, Albon insists the staff wasn’t responsible for any of the incidents, as he and Lawson are nonetheless having exhausting time adjusting from single-seaters.
“It’s extra driver error,” he defined. “It’s being too eager on the clutch pedal as we come down.
“It’s nothing staff associated. It’s one in all them issues now we have to adapt to from single-seaters to those automobiles, to have security modes and all the pieces like that on these automobiles.
“In F1 we’re much more reactive to pitstops when it goes inexperienced and we speed up earlier than the automobiles type of come down. However right here the wheels can’t flip or something like this so it’s fairly a unique factor.
“Actually, lots of my stuff and most of Liam’s as properly, now we have muscle reminiscence now we have to unplug from our brains and do the correct procedures.”
Albon may solely qualify twelfth on Sunday after a stoppage triggered by BMW’s Timo Glock prevented him finishing his ultimate run. He went on to complete sixth within the race with an identical technique to Saturday’s opening encounter.