Alex Albon feels his points finish for Williams in the Australian Grand Prix was “just as sweet” as the podiums he scored for Red Bull during his time at the sharp end of F1.
Albon took two third-place finishes in the Tuscan and Bahrain races when driving for Red Bull in 2020 before being dropped by the team in favour of Sergio Perez at the end of that year.
The Thai-British driver has returned to F1 with backmarkers Williams this season after a year on the sidelines in the hope that new regulations would push the team forward.
Although that has not yet been the case, a clever strategy that saw him run for 57 laps on hard tyres catapulted him up to a points-scoring 10th place in Melbourne.
Assessing the achievement, he said: “We’re not spraying champagne or raising the trophies, that bit is always very nice, but it feels just as sweet.
“It’s a much-needed result. When you have a tough start to the season you want to switch that momentum and have positivity.
"It’s hard when you don’t get good results, but it motivates me, it motivates the team to get that point on the board and now we’re hungry for more.”
Albon – long-stint strategy came as a surprise
Albon had finished 13th and 14th in his first two races but was expecting worse in Melbourne after a lack of pace in practice left the team’s race strategy calculations predicting a last-place finish.
But surprisingly good pace and a lack of degradation on the hard tyre led the team to think outside the box, leaving it until the very last moment to make the mandatory tyre change to the soft compound and claim 10th.
Albon revealed: “To be honest, I was guided by them [the team]. I was surprised we were never boxing under the VCSs or the safety cars. I thought ‘Okay, well they know something I don’t'.
“I thought that one of the Haas’ boxed in front of me and that’s the point when I thought ‘Okay, it’s going to be a tricky race now’ because that DRS was saving me from being overtaken by the pack behind.
“But once we got clear air we just went and we were on much older tyres than the guys around us, keeping pace more or less with the McLarens and at the very end pulling away from the Alpines.”
F1 daily poll