Red Bull Racing driver Alex Albon makes history with podium finish at the Tuscan Grand Prix
Bures-raised Alex Albon became the first Thai driver to stand on a Formula One podium after he swept past Daniel Ricciardo late on to finish third behind Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas at the Tuscan Grand Prix on Sunday.
Two red flags mixed the order up in the second consecutive race in Italy before Albon held his nerve late to spark a mix of joy and relief.
It came after the former Littlegarth,Nayland and Ipswich School pupil's performances this season had seen his position at Red Bull Racing put under an unwanted spotlight.
“I’m really happy and it took a while to get here! It’s something I’ve always wanted and one way or another we haven’t been able to get it so to be there today is pretty special,” he said.
“It’s really nice to give the team something back after they’ve supported me since day one and show them what I can do.
“It was a tough race and definitely not one of the easy ones. This track is brutal, especially the high speed corners in sector two, and with so many re-starts to manage we had our work cut out.
“We struggled to get off the line so I knew I had to be aggressive to get all the overtakes done but we had a really good car and we know it’s good on the brakes so we used that to our advantage.
“When we lost two positions on the final re-start, I was fired up as I wasn’t going to let the opportunity of a podium go by so I pushed hard to get third and I’m over the moon with today’s result.”
With Albon's team-mate Max Verstappen crashing out on the first lap, Red Bull Racing team principle Christian Horner described it as a 'bittersweet day' but said: "It's fantastic to see Alex take his first F1 podium. He's done a great job all weekend and he had to pass some tough competitors to fight his way back through the field after a couple of difficult starts.
"All credit to him because he hasn't let the negativity or external criticism get him down, he's picked himself up and put in a first-class performance."
He also backed him to use it as a platform to more podiums this season.
"I think this podium will give him a boost of confidence and self-belief and I'm sure he will only get stronger from here," he said.
The third place moved 24-year-old Albon, who also holds British dual nationality and is based in Milton Keynes where his parents live, up to fifth in the drivers' standings with 63 points, just two behind McLaren's Lando Norris.
With the Singapore Grand Prix, which had been scheduled for this weekend, now cancelled, next up is the Russian Grand Prix at Sochi, Adler from September 25.