F1 rising star Alex Albon shines on Red Bull debut at Belgium Grand Prix
Alex Albon was delighted with his first outing for Red Bull as his fifth place finish at the Belgian Grand Prix yesterday set a new F1 personal best, writes Oscar Johnson.
Bures-raised Albon, who earned a mid-season promotion from the Toro Rosso development team, made a big impact at Spa Francorchamps as he overcame a poor qualifying position (17th) to finish in the top six for only the second time in his rookie season on Sunday.
The former Littlegarth School pupil was overjoyed with the way his first competitive outing in his new car ended.
“I’m very happy. P5 is an amazing result and we’ve got off to a great start. I had good fun and enjoyed the race a lot,” he said.
“I had a good fight with Sergio (Perez) where we were both on the grass and it made for some good racing.”
The 23-year-old, who attended Ipswich School as a teenager, had qualified in 14th, before a penalty for engine changes meant he started three places further back for his Red Bull debut.
Despite his success, the dual Thai and British national, is already focusing on improving further ahead of looking forward to the next race on the calendar, the Italian Grand Prix this weekend.
“There are definitely some areas I need to improve on and over the next few days I’ll get my head down, do some homework and address them for Monza.
“I’ll sit down with the team and understand why I struggled at the start.”
Team principal Christian Horner was also impressed with Albon’s Red Bull debut, praising his recovery after his disappointment in qualifying.
“I’ve been impressed with Alex’s performance all weekend and he put in a great recovery drive from 17th on the grid to finish fifth in his first race with us.
“Things started to come alive for him on the softer compound tyre and he put in some great overtakes.”
Albon was beaten only by Lewis Hamilton, Valterri Bottas, Sebastien Vettel and Charles LeClerc, while his Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen failed to make it past turn three after colliding with Kimi Raikkonen.
Albon’s previous best finish in F1 was 6th, at the German Grand-Prix in Hockenheim in July.
It was a testing start to the race for Albon who cut short a trackside media interview after witnessing the crash which killed French F2 driver Anthoine Hubert on the same track on Saturday.
“Last night was very tough, us rookies knew Anthoine very well, so it’s been a stressful few hours ,” added Albon.
READ MORE: * Albon all set for Red Bull redemption