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Fourth-placed finish leaves Red Bull Racing F1 driver Alex Albon feeling proud after standing up to pressure in Abhu Dhabi





Alex Albon felt his drive across the weekend in Abu Dhabi answered critics who had questioned if he was up to keeping hold of his Formula One seat at Red Bull Racing.

The Bures-raised driver’s fourth-placed finish in the last race of the 2020 season was enough to move up a place in the Drivers’ Championship to seventh, beating his F1 debut of eighth.

The 23-year-old former Littlegarth School and Ipswich School pupil had qualified fifth in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and ended Sunday’s race at the Yas Marina Circuit quickly closing up the gap to champion Lewis Hamilton in third.

Alex Albon, pictured alongside race winner Max Verstappen, celebrates a memorable season-ending race for Red Bull Racing with the team Picture: Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool (43548381)
Alex Albon, pictured alongside race winner Max Verstappen, celebrates a memorable season-ending race for Red Bull Racing with the team Picture: Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool (43548381)

It ended a season, his first full one with Red Bull, having being promoted from their development team mid-way through 2019, where he achieved his first two podiums in F1.

Reflecting on his final race, Albon said: “I’m happy and I think if the race was a couple of laps longer I’d be even happier as I feel we could’ve got past Lewis and taken another podium today.

“I was managing my tyres at the beginning of the stint and maybe I was too conservative as I had lots of life left in them at the end of the race whilst everyone else’s were starting to drop off.

The Red Bull Racing team cheer as Alex Albon passes them at the end of the race during the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi Picture: Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool (43548390)
The Red Bull Racing team cheer as Alex Albon passes them at the end of the race during the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi Picture: Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool (43548390)

“But overall it’s a great result for the team today (with Max Verstappen taking victory) and I’m happy with my race.

“I’ve felt very good with the car this weekend and it’s probably been my best in F1.”

With his performances having been criticised from outside quarters and his place in the team brought into question from outside quarters, he was pleased with how he signed off his 2020 campaign.

“There was obviously a lot of pressure coming into this race and my only goal was to focus on my performance and do the best job possible, so I’m proud of how I’ve delivered under the circumstances,” he said.

“It feels great to prove to everyone that I’m strong enough mentally to deal with all the external talk and keep improving.

“As a team we haven’t given up; I’ve had a lot of support from everyone back at the factory and we’ve worked hard with the engineers to make me more comfortable in the car.

“Now I’m just looking forward to going home and relaxing with my family.”

Having relocated from Suffolk, Albon’s family now live in Milton Keynes, which is where Red Bull Racing is based, despite its connection with Austria.

Albon’s 105 points across the season left him level with McLaren’s sixth-placed Carlos Sainz Jr, and ahead of Charles Leclerc (98).

After the race, Red Bull Racing's team principle Christian Horner praised Albon's performance (see video above) and said it would not take long for them to use the data to make a final decision on whether he retains his seat for 2021.

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