Perception is a big thing in Formula One
In what was a great race and a great weekend at Spa (although marred by the death of Anthoine Hubert), there was something on evidence during the race in Belgium. Formula One does run on perception.
During the race, despite putting together a relatively mediocre first stint on medium tires in the Red Bull, Alex Albon was able to put together a great rhythm and started picking up places at the end of the race on soft tires.
Although this was an impressive charge by Albon and did deserve a mention, what was completely forgotten that he was on faster and fresher tires in a car that was already arguably close to a second quicker than the cars it was fighting with.
Albon finished the race in P5 in a Red Bull after starting from P17. It does look like an impressive result but what one needs to keep in mind is that his ex-teammate by the name of Daniil Kvyat finished P7 after starting near the back just like Albon in a car that is close to a second a lap slower than Albon's.
So while Albon got the cheers for his rousing start to the life at Red Bull, somehow in all of this, Kvyat's performance was almost forgotten. Albon has been rated highly and rightly so but it does become evident that sometimes Formula 1 runs on perception more than the cold hard facts.
The facts for Spa should be Kvyat putting together another impressive show as a driver from the back in a car that was going to be vulnerable at Spa. But somehow, the limelight would fall on Albon and his P5 at Spa.
The common verdict of him getting 'outclassed' by Ricciardo still sticks but one would need to look long and hard at the points table to try and make sense of things. If Hulkenberg had bagged the result in Bahrain he would be ahead of Ricciardo by some margin.
Perception is a big thing in Formula One, there was a time when Hulkenberg and Kvyat were rated very highly and benefited from it but now they're on the other side of it.
Daniel Ricciardo and Alex Albon are great talents for sure, taking nothing away from them but Kvyat and Hulkenberg deserve the credit where it's due but somehow it gets drowned in all the noise. Sometimes it's just how things work in F1, a decent hype certainly goes a long way.