Alexander Albon’s hopes of sealing the second Red Bull seat for next season have been given a boost with team boss Christian Horner insisting it’s “his to lose”.

Impressing in his first 12 Formula 1 race starts at Toro Rosso, Red Bull chose to promote Albon to a works drive in place of the struggling Pierre Gasly mid-season.

This has allowed the Austrian outfit to evaluate who it will choose to partner Max Verstappen in 2020, as it mulls over Albon and Gasly who are prime candidates for a full-time seat.

Albon has scored points in every race he’s represented Red Bull, finishing a best of fourth at the Japanese Grand Prix. Speaking to Sky Sports F1 after FP1 for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, Horner heaped praise on the British-born Thai driver’s performances.

“He’s getting stronger and stronger,” said Horner.

“It’s a tricky track here, particularly that first sector, and seeing how he attacked it quickly, getting down to a time, he seems to be learning difficult tracks like Suzuka.

“Mexico he acquitted himself well, here he’s done a similar job in that first session. So far, so good.”

Pressed on whether Albon was favourite for the job, Horner replied: “It’s his seat to lose.

“He’s got his bum in it at the moment, and he’s doing a good job.

“We’ve still got time to the end of the year, all the drivers [Albon, Gasly and Daniil Kvyat] are under contract for next year, so we don’t need to rush.

“Everybody’s been impressed with the job he’s been doing so far.”

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko abandoned his initial plan to announce the team’s line-up for next year after Mexico, admitting the deadline was a “mistake”.