Max backs Albon to shine at ‘less pressured’ Williams

Date published: September 11 2021 - Michelle Foster

Alex Albon speaking with Max Verstappen. Russia September 2019

Max Verstappen believes the “less pressured environment” that is Williams is a good place for his former team-mate Alex Albon.

Albon has had a tumultuous time with the Red Bull family that ultimately culminated in a short two-year period on the Formula 1 grid.

In 2019 he spent 12 races with the junior team before being handed an unexpected promotion to Red Bull, racing alongside Verstappen.

But by the end of 2020 it was evident that his Red Bull career was coming to an end, Albon dropped from a race seat.

The team acknowledged that Albon was struggling to close the gap to Verstappen with Christian Horner saying ultimately they had to “trust the facts opposed to emotions”.

Red Bull retained ties with Albon for this season, placing him in a DTM ride while also using him as their test driver with Horner saying he’d be happy to continue that relationship into 2022 if Albon wasn’t able to find a F1 race seat.

He’s done just that, the Thai-British driver signing with Williams for next season.

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Verstappen says he is “very happy” to have his former team-mate back on the grid.

“He’s been my team-mate, he’s a great guy, a hard worker, and he definitely deserves a spot in Formula 1,” said the Dutchman.

“And he has a lot of talent. I’m very sure that he will come back strong and will show good results.”

Asked by The Race if he believes Albon would rediscover his lost form at the Grove team, the championship leader said he felt the “less pressured environment” would be good for the 25-year-old.

“I don’t know how he looks at it, but he knows he has the speed. We all know that he has shown this from go-karting.

“But probably in a less pressured environment it will be good to just come back and I’m sure he will do well.

“You need to get used to the car. We all do with the new rules, but he will do good.”

Albon scored two podiums during his time at Red Bull Racing, P3 at the 2020 Tuscany and Bahrain races.