Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Max Verstappen and Alex Albon to hit 'full send'

The Red Bull drivers say they're looking forward to a break after Sunday's race, but have no intention of being fainthearted in going for the win before that

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Second placed Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing and third placed Alexander Albon of Thailand and Red Bull Racing celebrate with their trophies after the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

The Red Bull drivers have set aside any doubts about their intentions at this year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Max Verstappen and stablemate Alex Albon said they were pushing hard for victory, despite being weary after what most agree has been one of Formula 1’s toughest seasons.

“We finished second here last year and we have nothing to lose this weekend so it will be ‘full send’,” the Dutch driver said, indicating a desire to attack the race without fear.

Albon agreed, adding: “It’s the last race of the year but that doesn’t mean any less effort goes into it. On my side I’m pushing hard to finish the season strong and we’ll be giving it everything like we always do.”

The Red Bull drivers have cause for hope of podium finishes at Yas Marina Circuit as they finished second (Verstappen) and third (Albon) in the Bahrain Grand Prix in November.

In 2019, Verstappen was the only driver who was anywhere near catching last year’s race victor and ultimate champion Lewis Hamilton. The Red Bull driver managed to narrow the gap on the leader in the last few laps of the race, but he still finished nearly 17 seconds behind the Englishman.

Hamilton may not even be an entrant in this year’s race, though, with question marks remaining over whether the Mercedes driver, who has already secured victory in this year’s championship with a win in Turkey, will be racing after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Both Verstappen and Albon admit this year’s racing has taken its toll on the Red Bull team as a whole, but acknowledge their combined achievements.

“It has been a crazy season and we now have one last push in Abu Dhabi and I think many of the team members are ready for a break,” Verstappen said.

“People always ask if it has been a hard year for the drivers but actually it’s the team that it is hard for as they fly earlier than us and have to prepare everything before we even arrive.

“It’s been so intense for them and although we all love racing everyone is ready to be with their families and enjoy some time out.”

For his part, Albon is hoping his recent motorsports successes will help him at Yas Island, both in practice and on Sunday when the race takes place.

“Abu Dhabi is a nice one,” he said. “It’s a circuit we’ve driven a lot in Formula 3 and Formula 2 and it’s also one of the circuits I drove at last year in the Red Bull so I can use my experience from 2019 into this year.”