MONZA, Italy -- Daniil Kvyat has brushed off suggestions former teammate Alexander Albon made a good start to his Red Bull career at the Belgian Grand Prix.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner praised Albon for his fighting display at Spa-Francorchamps, which saw the Thai driver fight from 18th to fifth in a performance which included impressive overtaking moves on Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez. Albon had been promoted during the summer break, with Pierre Gasly going the other way to Toro Rosso.
However, not everyone was impressed -- Kvyat, who returned to F1 with Toro Rosso this year, was quick to point out that Albon spent much of the race stuck behind his car.
"I don't know why you call it such a good start," Kvyat said on Thusday after being asked about Albon ahead of this weekend's Italian Grand Prix. "He spent 36 laps behind me in a Red Bull Racing car, and he started in front of me as well. I don't know, maybe in the future he will do better."
Albon's promotion is part of Red Bull's evaluation process for 2020. The team is comparing Albon to Gasly's 12 races from the start of the year, while Kvyat is believed to be in the mix for a drive next year given the fact he drove for the team in 2015 and the opening three races of 2016.
When asked if he was paying close attention to Albon's progress, he said: "Normally I don't but I had to because we were fighting the whole race in Spa. If he had stayed at Toro Rosso then yeah it would have been an amazing race for him, but he was in a Red Bull, so..."
Kvyat refused to say Albon should have done a better job, but was keen to stress again that Albon had struggled to get past him.
"I don't know [if it should have been better], I'm just commenting on what I saw. Maybe it was the maximum, probably it was the maximum that the car could achieve that day.
"But the fact that we were fighting and I held up a Red Bull car for most of the race in Spa -- where the car really matters a lot -- behind me, it was a very pleasing race for me to be honest."
Interestingly, Albon did not seem convinced about his performance after crossing the line at Spa on Sunday.
He opened his radio channel after crossing the line to say: "Thanks guys. That wasn't a very good job to be honest... Uh, I struggled really at the start."
Speaking on Thursday, after a few days to assess the debut, Albon said he had been worried about how slowly he initially progressed through the order.
"It went well," he said. "The first stint was really difficult, actually, with the medium tyres I really struggled.
"I was getting a bit worried because I wasn't making much ground to anyone in front. But once we put on the soft tyres that was pretty straightforward. But we had a good car underneath us. Overtook a few people, it was good fun."
Speaking about the Perez overtake, which he completed on the grass running along the Kemmel Straight, he said: It started off from a couple of corners before that.
"It was tricky but I kind of expected it because it was the last lap and you're always a bit more aggressive on the last lap. He moved across... it was marginal, definitely, but as we said in the stewards' no harm was done. It was close and in other circumstances that would have been a bit too aggressive but because it was a dry track and there was a run-off, I was on the tarmac section and all that kind of thing, it wasn't too bad..."