RACE DEBRIEF

    Alex Albon believes he is reaching the peak of his powers in F1 and feels “ready” to take the next step by fighting for race wins and championships – whether that be with an improving Williams team or elsewhere.

    Albon’s first opportunity to race for a front-running squad went awry amid intense pressure to perform on his promotion from Toro Rosso to Red Bull in 2019, with the stint lasting just one-and-a-half seasons and leading to a year on the sidelines.

    IN DEPTH: ‘We’ve had to have our elbows out’ – Alex Albon reflects on a pivotal season for him and Williams

    But a return to the grid with Williams for 2022 reignited his career, the Thai-British driver achieving a string of impressive points-scoring results and pushing the Grove outfit from the bottom of the constructors’ standings to seventh last season.

    Speaking on the High Performance Podcast, co-hosted by former BBC F1 presenter Jake Humphrey, Albon explained how his experiences at Red Bull have moulded him into a stronger driver, and one that is close to being at their best.

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    Albon struggled to match Max Verstappen during their time as team mates at Red Bull

    Asked if he could go to a team and fight for wins tomorrow, while driving with freedom that he previously didn’t have, Albon said: “Yes, I do. I have the inner self-confidence. It’s taken a long time to get there; I don’t think I’m one of these drivers whose had it from the very beginning, but I do.

    “I’ve often thought… I feel in some ways like I owe the team for what they’ve given me, as a chance to get back into F1, but at the same time I know I’ve given them back just as much as what they’ve given me – that sounds a little bit arrogant to say.

    READ MORE: ‘Every mistake gets criticised’ – Albon opens up on Red Bull struggles and how they made him stronger

    “I want to make this team work, I really do believe that [can happen], I enjoy working at this team, I enjoy this family feel that this team has, and I enjoy seeing what [Williams Team Principal] James Vowles can do and how he’s pulling this team.”

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    Albon has impressed during his time at Williams, taking standout P7 results in Canada and Italy last year

    That said, Albon knows all too well how brutal F1 can be when it comes to driver changes and admits he is keeping his eyes open for opportunities elsewhere, should Williams’s recent rise stall.

    “Weirdly, I’m getting old,” he went on to comment. “In the world of F1, I’m 27, and I feel like I’m near my peak. You can have your peak for a long time, but I’m getting to a point where I feel like my experience and my speed is in a good place.

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    “I’m ready, I’m ready to win races, to fight for a championship. I would love it to be at this team, but who knows? I’ve got to keep my doors open because that’s just how it is. Just like teams keep their doors open for other drivers, you’ve got to keep your doors open for other teams.”

    Albon’s best result from his 81 F1 starts to date remains third place, which he achieved with Red Bull at the 2020 Tuscan and Bahrain Grands Prix, contributing to a current career points tally of 228.