Williams claim Albon performing ‘at least as good’ as Russell but warn against making comparisons

Alex Albon has performed superbly since his arrival at Williams at the start of the 2022 season.

Williams’ head of vehicle performance, Dave Robson, is delighted with Alex Albon’s form at the start of the season, and is seeing similar brilliance to that of George Russell when he drove for the team.

Albon joined Williams over the winter having taken a year out after being dropped by Red Bull, and his season racing in DTM as acting as Red Bull’s junior driver served him well.

The Thai-Briton has scored points in two of the opening seven races, and always seems to be able to extract that little bit more out of what is, for all intents and purposes, a poor Williams car.

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George Russell managed four points finishes and a podium last season with the team, and earned himself the name ‘Mr Saturday’ due to his tremendous qualifying performances, so there was a lot for Albon to live up to when he joined.

Robson, however, insists that they are not judging Albon based upon Russell’s prior achievements, although he does believe that the 26-year-old’s performances are “at least as good” as his compatriot’s.

“I’m not sure it’s necessarily fair or helpful to make comparisons,” he said,.

“They are different but the results at the moment are probably just as good, or at least as good, with Alex.

“He’s got a huge amount of talent. Not just to drive the car, but I say to bring the whole team together and make sure we get the most out of everything every Sunday.

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“So he’s got a very bright future, I think.”

Particularly impressive in the Briton’s eyes has been the tyre-saving capabilities of Albon, as well as his dexterity in race trim despite having a car that struggles over one lap.

“He’s happy just to jump in the car and make the most of what he’s got,” added Robson.

“Probably best of all, his whole attitude to the races has been outstanding. We’ve not had brilliant qualifying sessions recently but on Sundays, he just strikes that balance between being aggressive in attack and defence.

“He just gets on with it, knows how to manage the tyres and puts together a really good race, which allows us a bit of flexibility on the strategy.

“We know he will respond to it, deal with it and get the best out of the car. So probably that’s the thing that’s impressed me most – this whole approach to Sunday.”

Nicholas Latifi managed to out-qualify Russell twice in 38 races during the two seasons they spent together at the Grove-based side, and has also been beaten in every qualifying session this year so far by Albon.

He did show some exceptional race pace up against the now Mercedes driver, and has legitimately beaten his current team-mate in each of the last two Sundays in Barcelona and Monaco.

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With his future in doubt, the Canadian is perhaps finally finding his feet in the new car, but he has been up against two extremely tough team-mates in Albon and Russell.

The 27-year-old also paired up with the former Red Bull driver at Dams during the 2018 Formula 2 season, so he also knows the two drivers very well indeed.

“Similarities? I mean, it goes without saying they are both extremely quick drivers,” explained Latifi.

“Especially when Alex was announced as the race driver who was to be my team-mate, I had no illusions he wouldn’t be on the pace straight away, despite him missing out a year.

“I obviously raced against him in 2018 as his team-mate [in Formula 2] and I know just how quick he was. 

“There are obviously some little different driving styles here and there, which I kind of knew going into the season as well, just from again having been team-mates with Alex before.

“I won’t share the driving style secrets because maybe they don’t want to disclose that! But no, it’s been great having them both as team-mates.”

Williams are rooted to the bottom of the Constructors’ Championship despite Albon’s two points finishes so far this season in Melbourne and Miami.