F1 pundit Tom McCluskey has said that it is difficult to judge Alex Albon’s 2023 success as he is yet to prove himself against an established team-mate.
It has been a fairly turbulent career in F1 for the Thai driver, which started with promise after he was promoted from Toro Rosso to Red Bull midway through his debut season in 2019 to replace the struggling Pierre Gasly.
However, the following year he was outclassed by Max Verstappen and was subsequently dropped from the team at the end of the year, leaving him without a seat for 2021.
After taking a year out, Albon returned to F1 with Williams in 2022 and following a respectable year in what was the slowest car on the grid, the 27-year-old achieved six points finishes to propel the team to seventh in the championship this season.
But despite an impressive season, McCluskey, who runs his own YouTube channel TommoF1, said on the Sky F1 podcast that it is difficult to judge his success against other drivers who have beaten established names as team-mates, compared to Albon comfortably beating rookie Logan Sargeant.
“When we say he’s outperformed, the only thing I’m like, we don’t really have a yard stick with Logan [Sargeant],” he said.
“If you had say, Carlos Sainz, in the other Williams, then you’ve got a real benchmark, because Carlos is a known entity. We’ve seen him alongside various teammates over the course of the years and we know what he can do and we kind of have a general idea. I think most people rate Carlos in a pretty similar area.
“With Alex it’s really hard to know where the ceiling performance was of that Williams because it’s hard to really rank. When I think of how I consider everyone in F1, I can’t put Alex ahead of, I’d love to, but I can’t put him ahead of Lando and George because I feel like they’ve had more known entity teammates and then proven themselves through that.”
He added: “That Williams was obviously set up great in a straight line, you sacrificed a bit of lap time, but in the race having that straight line speed, I mean, Canada. He kept the train behind him and it was an unreal result for him and for Williams.
“Think the gap between AlphaTauri and Williams in the end. If not for those points scoring finishes at the end, just picking up P9’s and P10’s, that’s another 10 whatever million it is in prize money gone.
“Very, very good from Alex. Australia was the only mistake I remember and it was a significant one. There were points on the table there but otherwise, it’s good to see. It’s nice.”
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