We had an overview of the circumstances that led to Gasly being demoted. Now, it is time to move on to the circumstances that led Albon to be promoted to the senior Red Bull Team. Did he do enough to guarantee the seat, especially after comparing him to Daniil Kvyat? The stats will tell us the story, so let’s take a look at the numbers.
I have always believed that points are the most important thing in Formula 1. It does not matter how good you do in quali if you cannot convert a good starting position into points. In that area, Daniil Kvyat managed to get 27 points after 12 races, while Alex Albon has obtained 16 points so far.
Yes, it is true that Kvyat’s numbers are boosted by a precious 3rd spot obtained in that crazy race in Germany. Does it matter though? Points are points. For me, it does not matter how you get them, but that you get them, and Daniil has done that.
Over the season, Daniil has obtained 63% of the points accrued by Toro Rosso so far, while Alex Albon has secured the remaining 37%.
Race positions overview
Regarding the race positions, both drivers are in fact very even. Alex Albon has finished on average in 11.66th spot, while Kvyat has an average finishing position of 12th place. This is as even as it gets.
Alex Albon has finished ahead of Daniil Kvyat on 5 ocassions — Bahrain, China, Azerbaijan, Austria, and Hungary — while the Russian has managed to beat Alex on 7 different races. The Thai driver was able to outperform Daniil on 3 of the first 6 races of the season, and twice on the last 6 races.
In direct one to one battles, meaning qualifying sessions where both drivers participated, Alex Albon has outpaced Daniil Kvyat on 6 occasions. In China, Alex Albon was unable to participate in the qualy session after crashing his car in FP3, so we only have 11 direct confrontations between teammates.
The trend in qualy battles has changed dramatically for the Toro Rosso drivers. Daniil managed to beat Alex on 4 of the first 6 races. Since then, Albon has taken victory (in qualy battles, of course), in 4 of the last 5 races.
It is important to note that the largest margin between both drivers, seen in Austria, was influenced by George Russell’s mistake that ruined Kvyat’s lap. Having said that, racing is like that sometimes, things are out of a driver’s control. Because of that, I did not remove the Q1 session seen in Austria.
On average, the difference is as small as it gets. Alex Albon has the upper hand by the smallest of margins, a difference of only 12 thousands of a second. Just incredible.
Quali positions overview
Finally, we get to the qualy positions. For teams like Toro Rosso, I believe that this is one of the least important metrics. Sure, you do not want to be starting in 19th and 20th place all the time, like Williams, but a good race car will get you points on Sundays, not on Saturdays.
In this aspect, Kvyat is winning the battle, once again by a very small margin. In 12 races, Kvyat is qualifying on average in 12.83th place, while Albon is qualifying in 12.91th place. We can round that to 13th place.
Daniil Kvyat best qualy session was seen in Azerbaijan, where the Russian driver managed to start in a valuable 6th place. Albon’s best session was in Great Britain, where he managed to start the race in 9th place.
This article is a good example of how stats are not the final answer all of the time. Did Albon do enough to deserve the seat at Red Bull? Was Daniil more deserving of that position? I do not know.
When it comes to numbers, both drivers are very even, in qualifying and racing performances. The main difference between them is the number of points, and that was caused by an outlier, the German Grand Prix.
I think that perhaps Daniil deserved a second opportunity at Red Bull. He is more mature than when he left the Austrian team, he is winning the points battle against his teammate, and he took a fantastic 3rd place in Germany. He is also still young, at 25 years old, but already knows about the pressure that comes with being in a team like Red Bull. At the end of the day, I do not make the decisions, but hopefully Alex will be able to thrive in perhaps the most demading team in F1.
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