Williams driver George Russell says Alex Albon is “being made to look like an idiot” by Red Bull after he failed to advance to the final part of qualifying.

Red Bull came to Hungary optimistic it could close the gap to the front-running Mercedes, but the RB16 has looked a handful all weekend in the hands of Albon and team-mate Max Verstappen.

Albon had voiced his frustration at the amount of understeer the car was generating, and it proved costly as he could only qualify a lowly 13th – his lowest grid position since Russia last year.

Verstappen, who was on pole at the Hugaroring in 2019, didn’t fair much better despite making his way in to Q3, securing a fourth row grid slot behind both Ferrari’s.

With Albon under increasing pressure to prove he is worthy of retaining his Red Bull seat for next year, Russell backed his former Formula 2 title rival feeling criticism towards his results were unjustified.

“I mean, I’ve known Alex for the last, you know, 15 years, been in the same paddock as him,” Russell told Sky Sports F1.

“He’s one of the best drivers we all race you know, Max, Charles, all of us will say it he’s always always been at the front and everything he’s done.

“And I don’t know what the hell is going on.

“I feel really, really bad for him because he’s being made to look like an idiot and he’s absolutely not. He’s won in everything he’s done. So I don’t know what’s going on but they need to sort out for him.”

Russell continued to show Williams’ progression by equaling his Styrian Grand Prix grid position to line up P12 for Sunday’s race, one position ahead of Albon.

Although Russell conceded that the team’s pace in race conditions will likely see it drop back down the field, the Briton was pleased, if not frustrated, to be on the cusp of a place in top 10.

“Our aim was Q2 the Alfas and the Haas,” Russell said.

“And the car just came alive at the start of Q1 and got in a good groove, and gave it everything I had.

“It’s actually annoying, two weeks in a row to miss Q3 by a such a small margin!

“I’d prefer to be a bit further away because it feels a bit frustrating as such – but yeah, I’m really pleased.”