Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has hit back at critics of Alex Albon, the driver having endured a difficult weekend at the Styrian Grand Prix.
Only denied an opportunity for the race win in the season opener after contact with Lewis Hamilton, Horner has backed his driver after a more difficult second race of the year.
The team boss also revealed the slower pace wasn't down to the driver, but was a number given by the team to ensure the tyre strategy would work out.
"It just shows how people have a short memory in Formula One, and they’re quick to forget things," wrote Horner in his Red Bull column.
"During his first stint on the soft tyre, we were concerned about potential blistering on the front right, so he was managing his pace to ensure he was able to achieve the target lap for his pit stop.
"This meant he gave away significant pace to the cars ahead, but as soon as he changed to the medium compound, he was back on pace.
"If you look at the analysis, Alex was within a tenth of Bottas, who was chasing Max. He also did a very good job in holding off a very fast Sergio Perez at the end of the race."
Despite his apparent struggles, Albon matched his best result in Formula 1 to date, finishing fourth for the second time in his career, the other coming in the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix, and Horner was also quick to point out the considerable experience gap between Albon, and those he is racing at the front.
"Alex is improving with experience, he has a good feel for what the car is doing and that's very encouraging," Horner added. "We all want him to succeed and let’s not forget he’s only done 11 races with the team whilst Max is in his sixth season.
"Alex has taken a lot of lessons out of Sunday's performance, so I don't think he should be down in any way because he actually equalled his best race result in Formula 1 and scored the team a solid amount of championship points."
Before you go:
Back-in-form Hamilton still challenged by 'easy' wins
Ricciardo buoyed by much-improved Renault