Alex Albon went from being « too nice » to « angry » at the Tuscan GP to earn a long-awaited first F1 podium, earning praise from Red Bull while also admitting he had « Lewis Hamilton flashbacks » during his decisive overtake.
In his 18th race with the team, Albon took advantage of an incident-packed Mugello race to finally finish in the top three – superbly passing Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo after the third restart of an incredible afternoon.
« Thanks for sticking with me, » said Albon on team radio, before speaking to Sky F1’s Ted Kravitz on The Notebook.
« The team has supported me since Day One. It’s really good to get a podium, just to show that I can do it. »
Albon’s podium came amid increasing pressure, particularly with Pierre Gasly – the man he replaced – winning the last weekend’s Italian GP with AlphaTauri. But with Gasly, and team-mate Max Verstappen, crashing out early at Mugello, Albon shone.
« I’m really pleased for him because he’s weathered a little bit of criticism and he’s bounded back, » Red Bull boss Christian Horner told Sky F1. « For him to get that podium today he had to do it the hard way, he had to really fight for it. »
Reacting to Albon’s polite radio message, Horner stated: « If anything, he’s too nice! But once he puts the helmet on, there’s a real racer in there.
« There’s a big difference between thinking you can do it and knowing you can do it, and I think this podium will give him a boost of confidence and self-belief. I think he’ll build from here quite nicely. »
« I don’t think I race very nice! » he said. « I have my elbows out on circuit, and I am very different. When I have my helmet on, I have a bit more fire in the belly.
« When I lost a position initially to Sergio at the restart, I was a little bit, let’s say, angry, and I knew I had to get past him. As soon as I saw Daniel, then I knew, I’m not going to let this one go. »
A superb move around the outside of the Renault around Turn One would follow, although Albon – who has had two race-altering collisions with Hamilton in previous podium battles – admitted he was nervous.
« I had the Lewis flashbacks going into the corner, but Daniel left enough space and it was all OK! » he said.
Horner added: « Really impressive. We see it time and again with him, his placement of the car is very, very good.
« Daniel’s a hard guy to pass and to make that move around the outside and make that stick – all credit to him. »
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