Williams driver George Russell was quickly rebuked by Max Verstappen after criticising the way Red Bull were treating Alex Albon.
The 22-year-old British driver said he felt that Red Bull had made Albon, a 24-year-old London-born Thai driver “look like an idiot” at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Verstappen hit back saying Russell knew nothing about Red Bull.
“First of all, George doesn’t know anything about the team so I think it’s better if he focuses on his car and his performance instead of speaking for someone else,” said Verstappen, who qualified seventh, six places ahead of Albon.
During the second qualifying session, Albon, in his second season in Formula One, complained on team radio that Red Bull had sent him out to qualify in traffic, an issue he had mentioned before.
Russell came to Albon’s defence.
“I’ve know Alex for the last 15 years, been in the same paddock as him and he is one of the best drivers we all raced,” he said. “All of us were saying he always has been at the front in everything he has done and I don’t know what the hell is going on.
“I feel really bad for him. He’s been made to look like an idiot and he’s absolutely not. He’s won in everything he’s done so I don’t know what’s going on, but they need to sort it out.”
Albon and Verstappen struggled with the performance of their cars.
Verstappen conceded that Red Bull were struggling for balance and set-up at the Hungaroring after a night shift on Friday to find improvements had not produced notable results.
“It’s definitely not looking great,” he said. “But I hope this is going to be our worst weekend. We’ll hopefully learn a lot from this and rectify a bit of it in the upcoming races.”
He said his car did not have good balance in corners.
“Understeer, understeer, lack of grip — not having top speed as well, so everything makes it slow,” he said.
Speaking after qualifying, Albon said he was hoping for rain, or mixed conditions, in the race.
“It will be more fun for everyone if we have a changeable race with rain and dry periods,” he said.
Russell only commented on his own impressive showing after speaking about Albon.
Russell claimed 12th on the grid on a day when the up-for-sale Williams team reached Q2 with both cars for the first time in nearly two years.
“Our aim was to make Q2 and to out-qualify the Alfa (Romeos) and Haas, and then the car just came alive at the start of Q1,” he said.
“I’m just praying for rain because we can be fast if it does pour down.”