EXCLUSIVE: Alex Albon’s plot to uncover Lewis Hamilton F1 secret foiled by George Russell

Alex Albon hoped his good mate George Russell would let him in on Lewis Hamilton's secret Ferrari F1 switch, but had no luck.

(L to R): Alexander Albon (THA) Williams Racing with George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1. Formula 1 World Championship,
(L to R): Alexander Albon (THA) Williams Racing with George Russell (GBR)…

Alex Albon has shared an amusing story of how he unsuccessfully tried to find out from George Russell if Lewis Hamilton’s Ferrari move was really happening.

Hamilton’s bombshell decision to join Ferrari from 2025 sent shockwaves through the F1 paddock and has blown the driver market wide open, leaving an unexpected vacancy at Mercedes.

The move had been rumoured for several months and was reported extensively in the days leading up to the official announcement. Like many, Albon doubted whether the story was true.

Speaking exclusively to Crash.net at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, Albon revealed he texted Hamilton’s teammate and his close friend Russell to see if it was really happening.

“I don’t think drivers talk too much about it. Maybe drivers do. I don’t, but maybe the others do,” the Williams driver said when asked if Hamilton’s shock Ferrari switch had got the drivers talking.

“I would say the only one I really spoke to was George, just to see if the Lewis thing was real or not!

"At the beginning of the rumours I thought there was no way it could end up being a real thing, but obviously it ended up being. So that was the only time.”

But Albon attempts to gather inside information from Russell failed.

“He didn’t reply to me until it got announced!” Albon added.

Hamilton’s Ferrari move was the third deal to be confirmed over the winter, following long-term extensions for McLaren’s Lando Norris and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

(L to R): Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari with Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 1,
(L to R): Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari with Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes…

Albon believes the upcoming 2026 regulation overhaul has prompted teams to get their driver line-ups sorted early.

“I would say that the effects of the regulation change, I do think there’s been quite a strong push for teams to get their drivers in quite early,” Albon said.

“You can see that obviously with Max’s contract, Charles’ contract, Lewis doing his deal so early in the year.

“2026 more than ever, even when I think about the regulation changes in 2014, 2017, I wasn’t a part of those conversations as I was in junior formulas, but they seem quite early this year.

“The whole Lewis thing has definitely excited the driver market, I’m not going to lie on that side.

“I feel like there is an urgency for teams to get their drivers in place, the ones that they obviously believe in. The paddock is talking right now.”

The most direct knock-on impact of Hamilton’s move is that Carlos Sainz has been left without a seat for 2025.

Albon reckons many teams will be scrambling to secure the Spaniard's services.

"I think if you are any team, Carlos would be a driver you would be interested in. The same would apply to Fernando [Alonso],” Albon said.

“In the press conference [on Thursday] he was having different ideas totally about retiring. Not sure if I believe that! But there is interest. There’s a few teams that are clearly looking for drivers.

“I think as well, part of it, is how little testing there is in Formula 1 and how tricky it is for rookies right now. It seems like teams are more happy to settle with what’s already inside the paddock.

“I think the steps now for rookies are much bigger than they used to be. The cars are quite difficult to drive. They are not that easy to get right, so there’s this ongoing buzz about what’s inside the paddock already.”

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