Red Bull chief Horner thrilled by Albon's impressive start

Red Bull's Christian Horner was enthused by Alexander Albon's display in his first race as a Red Bull driver at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Albon was promoted to Red Bull for the remainder of the season.   -  Getty Images

Alexander Albon's impressive performance at the Belgian Grand Prix has been hailed by Red Bull Racing chief Christian Horner.

Albon was promoted from Toro Rosso in August, replacing Pierre Gasly as Red Bull's second-seat driver behind Max Verstappen for the remainder of the season.

His maiden race for Red Bull came at Spa on Sunday, where Albon showed plenty of grit as he overcame a grid penalty to cruise from 17th to a fifth-place finish.

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It was a performance that pleased Horner, who was delighted with the maturity shown by the 23-year-old in a grand prix marred by the death of Formula Two driver Anthoine Hubert on Saturday.

"Alex has impressed me all weekend with his approach, his feedback, his pace," Horner said. "In the race, he did a very mature job. [In] The first half of the race, we weren't quite as competitive on the harder tyre as we were on the softer tyre, but he didn't make any silly mistakes or take any silly risks. He just dialled himself in.

"To go from P17 to P5 was a very good start."

Horner also lauded the performance of Gasly, who claimed two points for Toro Rosso in ninth.

"I think it was an encouraging start for him. Hopefully he'll have a clean weekend with a straightforward qualifying in Monza," Horner added. "But certainly he's made a very favourable impression with the engineering team and in the garage. Certainly [it was] a good start.

"Having spoken to Pierre over the weekend as well, he seems to have exactly the right frame of mind getting into the Toro Rosso. He recognises there's still opportunities for him and he's approaching it with the right mindset."

Gasly was a close friend of Hubert, having raced alongside the Frenchman from a young age, and the 23-year-old acknowledged it had been a tough race emotionally.

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"I must say it was really difficult because of course it was in my mind before going in the car and putting the helmet on," Gasly told Sky Sports. "I just can't believe it.

"I've grown up with this guy. I raced in karting with Charles [Leclerc] and Anthoine since 2005. Then we lived in the same flat for five years. We went to the same school, in the same classroom. I've known this guy so long and we shared so many moments on track, and off track especially."