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Albon has ‘what it takes’ to push Williams forward as Vowles hails his leadership qualities

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Williams team boss James Vowles has heaped praise on Alex Albon for what he has shown in and out of the car during his time with the squad, describing the Thai-British racer’s performance at the recent Canadian Grand Prix as “the drive of a champion”.

Vowles took on the Team Principal role with the Grove operation on the eve of the 2023 season, with former Red Bull driver Albon so far claiming three points finishes despite a compromised winter that saw Williams prepare the FW45 without an official Technical Director.

READ MORE: Albon lauds ‘strongest weekend so far’ as more points see Williams leapfrog Alfa Romeo and Haas in standings

One of those results came during the visit to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve last month, where Albon took advantage of mixed qualifying conditions to reach Q3 and then converted it into a seventh-place finish via some impressive defensive driving.

Having worked with the likes of Michael Schumacher, Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton during his time in F1, Vowles offered some thoughts on where Albon fits into the equation during an appearance on the Beyond The Grid podcast.

How Alex Albon delivered his best Williams finish at the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix

“There’s no ego,” said Vowles, giving his initial assessment. “He’s a funny chap, but I called him [after Canada] to explain to him that was a drive of champions. I’ve worked with a good number of them and it really was.

“He didn’t put a foot wrong at the point where he’s under pressure from four incredibly fast-charging cars behind on tyres that were in a much better state than his. Some of the work he was doing on repositioning his car, on the exit of [Turn 10] and a few other corners, was very clever.

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“He recognises that. He’s obviously not someone that’s going to go in and boast about it to the world, but for me, that was a drive of a champion.

“He’s definitely bringing the car to the limit of its performance, which is what you’re looking for out of a driver. I think he’s very underrated and I’m incredibly happy that he’s here within our organisation today.”

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Albon added more points to his and Williams’ tally at the British Grand Prix

Asked if he would consider building the future of the team around Albon, as he attempts to return them to winning ways, Vowles continued: “Yes, I would. He’s got leadership qualities to him.

“There are areas where he and I talk about where I think he can do more, but he’s got what it takes to bring us forward as an organisation. As I said, for the future, from where I am at the moment, I hope he’s very much a part of it.”

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Albon’s other points-scoring efforts came at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix and the British Grand Prix last time out with runs to P10 and P8 respectively.

The results have given Williams enough points to hold seventh in the constructors’ standings after 10 rounds, putting them ahead of Haas, Alfa Romeo and AlphaTauri.

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