‘It wasn’t that bad’: Alex Albon believes Red Bull sacking was unfair

Alex Albon returned to the pinnacle of motorsport with Williams this season.

Alex Albon feels that the criticism he received during the 2020 season was a little harsh, so naturally felt the need to close some mouths on his return to Formula 1 with Williams this season.

The Thai-Brit came up into F1 with George Russell and Lando Norris, who went to Williams and McLaren respectively.

Albon signed with Toro Rosso having impressed as one of Red Bull’s junior drivers, but he was only there for half a season.

Max Verstappen and Alex Albon in Bahrain 2019.v1

READ: Alex Albon disagrees with Toto Wolff about Formula 1 racing at ‘The Green Hell’

Pierre Gasly, another Toro Rosso graduate, had suffered a tough season alongside Max Verstappen in the main fold, so he was dropped, and Red Bull were faced with a decision.

They could either promote the more experience Daniil Kvyat, who had proven his worth behind the wheel of the Milton Keynes-built car before, or they could promote Albon.

They went for youth, and in general, the now 26-year-old showed some impressive signs in the latter half of the season.

He might have had a podium in Brazil had it not been for a whack from behind by Sir Lewis Hamilton, who duly apologised, and that ironically opened the door for Gasly to score a second-placed finish for the junior side he had been dropped back into.

Albon was again denied a podium by Hamilton in the closing stages of the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix, but he would go on to finish third in Mugello and Bahrain.

Article continues below

Sadly though, in Red Bull’s eyes, these performances were surrounded by too much inconsistency, so he was dropped at the end of the 2020 season.

Albon turned to DTM with AlphaTauri, driving an AF Corse, and he won at the Nürburgring last season, before the door to F1 opened again.

Russell moved to Mercedes to replace the Alfa Romeo-bound Valtteri Bottas, so Red Bull loaned Albon to the Grove-based team, and he has scored all three of their points so far this season.

The two-time podium finisher has out-qualified Nicholas Latifi 11 times in 13 races of 2022, and has escaped the first qualifying session four times in a car that is pound for pound the slowest on the grid.

READ: Alex Albon says Max Verstappen and George Russell ‘would probably mean fireworks’

2022 has been an impressive return for Albon, who came back fuelled by negative comments from his time at Red Bull.

“Yes, I guess so,” he told GPFans when asked whether he felt the need to silence some doubters.

“I felt like obviously, 2020 wasn’t a great year, and I felt like maybe I got heavily criticised over something which, in reflection, didn’t feel like it was that bad of a year. 

“Almost… you go out the sport and then you can’t really show people what you felt like you can do. 

“When they got the opportunity to get back into F1, it was like ‘this is the perfect place, the perfect time now to put them comments to bed’. 

“And of course, there’s always going to be a lot of motivation and hunger to do that, but also, of course, it was purely just to get back into F1.”

Albon sits 19th in the Drivers’ Standings, ahead of Latifi and Aston Martin reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg, who filled in for Sebastian Vettel in the opening two rounds of the year with the four-time world champion had COVID.