RACE DEBRIEF

    While the start to his Red Bull career hasn’t been as smooth as he might have liked, one thing that’s always impressed about Alex Albon is his racecraft. And after pulling off some scintillating overtakes to claim his maiden podium at the Tuscan Grand Prix, the Thai driver reflected on his burgeoning F1 nickname: ‘Mr Round The Outside’.

    Albon pulled off two key moves to take third place at Mugello, going around the outside of Sergio Perez at the exit of Turn 3, before passing Daniel Ricciardo around the outside at Turn 1.

    And with Albon having deployed similar moves at previous races in his Red Bull career – passing Ricciardo at Spa’s ‘No-Name’ last year, getting Sebastian Vettel into Turn 1 at Interlagos, overtaking Pierre Gasly, Lando Norris and Kimi Raikkonen at Luffield and Copse during the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, with all of those moves completed around the outside – Albon explained the factors that had led to him earning that ‘Mr Round The Outside’ sobriquet.

    READ MORE: Albon admits he had flashbacks to previous clashes as he completed decisive pass for maiden podium

    “It sounds like a dance move! I don’t know – if the inside was free, I’d take it,” Albon told Red Bull’s official site. “People defend, so I have to go around the outside. It’s not really [always been my style], I’d say it’s a Red Bull thing; the car’s good on the brakes so we can use that to our advantage pretty well. I mean, the tracks we’ve been going to have also been pretty nice for those kind of moves too.”

    ONBOARD: Albon sweeps past Perez at Tuscan GP

    2020 has seen Albon struggle relative to his team mate Max Verstappen, the Thai driver having scored just 63 points to the Dutchman’s 110 after nine races. And while Albon has only just taken his first podium – a crash with Lewis Hamilton, unsurprisingly while trying to overtake him around the outside, at the opening race in Austria having cost him an almost certain one there – Verstappen has visited the rostrum six times this year, once as a race winner at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.

    READ MORE: ‘He had to really fight for it’ – Horner says Mugello podium will be turning point for Albon

    But having previously sought the positives of his season when forced to answer questions about his form, achieving his podium at Mugello allowed Albon to reflect on a “long and difficult” year so far – while he also explained a radio message to Red Bull after the race where he thanked the team for sticking with him.

    “It’s been a long and difficult year so far, and even though things have been getting better, the results didn’t show that,” said Albon. “I just wanted to thank the guys for supporting me since day one.

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    Albon has lagged behind his more experienced team mate this season

    “The team have been working hard trying to get the car in a better window for me and make me feel comfortable. And of course, Monza [where Albon finished 15th as Pierre Gasly won for AlphaTauri] wasn’t a good race for us, so to bounce back the way we did shows the courage and determination from everyone.

    “I would like to say it could’ve, and should’ve, happened sooner,” Albon added of his podium, “but to get it the way we did was nice. It wasn’t an easy race, we had to fight for it and it took some overtakes on the track to get it.”

    Third-time lucky: Alex Albon's near misses and podium-sealing Tuscan GP pass