The Anglo-Thai driver loved his finest 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 web 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.
Equipped with more energizing tyres, Albon shadowed the Audi drivers for the remainder of the race, coming shut to creating a transfer at a number of events.
Ultimately, Zolder’s lack of overtaking alternatives meant that he was by no means able to make a move, the trio crossing the road practically 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.
Speaking after the race, Albon felt he may have simply gained at a extra overtaking-friendly monitor with the technique he employed, such was his tempo benefit over the Audi duo.
“I think we had a good pace all weekend,” he mentioned. “We had a five-place grid penalty for qualifying which I nonetheless suppose was fairly harsh, it made the race a bit of bit tougher.
“The begin itself was okay, we didn’t make too many positions, however a very powerful factor for us was to get clear air. We knew we had the tempo so long as we stayed out in entrance – the degradation is just not large 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 every other monitor we may have gained this race, however Mike and Kelvin with their expertise don’t make errors. I used to be making an attempt to get them to make some however [they didn’t].
“Especially following for so long, the brakes start to get long, everything starts to overheat. Unfortunately P3 was the best we could have done.”
While Albon was anticipated to be the star performer on Red 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.
However, Albon defended his outcomes in comparison with Lawson, saying he has been fortunate in most qualifying classes thus far – which then left him with an excessive amount of floor to make up within the races.
“I don’t think it’s especially been a bad season,” mentioned the 25-year-old. “I struggled a bit in qualifying. We’ve had 5 qualifying classes [until Saturday], three of which I’ve been caught behind a automobile or had a problem.
“I wouldn’t even name this a clear run in qualifying, I used to be caught behind a automobile [again]. So I’ve by no means actually been capable of present what I can do. Theoretical lap occasions have at all times been up there however I by no means had an awesome qualifying.
“The races have been okay however you possibly can solely accomplish that a lot [after starting in the midfield]. Of course, there may be some adapting to do, however we’re at all times 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’re not as unhealthy as others largely think about.”
In the primary race, Albon stalled out on his method out of the pits, dropping wherever between one to 2 seconds within the course of.
Both Red Bull drivers suffered comparable points within the earlier spherical at Lausitzring, costing Lawson the lead and doubtlessly a second win of the season.
However, Albon insists the workforce wasn’t in charge for any of the incidents, as he and Lawson are nonetheless having laborious time adjusting from single-seaters.
“It’s more driver error,” he defined. “It’s being too eager on the clutch pedal as we come down.
“It’s nothing workforce associated. It’s one in all them issues we now have to adapt to from single-seaters to those automobiles, to have security modes and every little thing 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 form of come down. But right here the wheels can’t flip or something like this so it’s fairly a distinct factor.
“Honestly, a lot of my stuff and most of Liam’s as well, we have muscle memory we have to unplug from our brains and do the right procedures.”
Albon may solely qualify twelfth on Sunday after a stoppage triggered by BMW’s Timo Glock prevented him finishing his remaining run. He went on to complete sixth within the race with an analogous technique to Saturday’s opening encounter.