Alexander Albon has “surprised” Toro Rosso with his technical feedback and quick transition into Formula 1 after just two rounds of the 2019 season, according to team principal Franz Tost. 

After finishing third in the 2018 Formula 2 Championship, the British-born Thai driver earned a late call up to make his grand prix debut this season in place of the ousted Brendon Hartley and faced an instant tough task, having never turned a wheel in F1 machinery prior to this year. 

But Albon immediately impressed to out-qualify teammate Daniil Kvyat on debut at the Melbourne season-opener on his way to a solid 14th, before once again beating the Russian to claim the first points of his F1 career with a ninth-place finish in Bahrain

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“Alex is coming from Formula 2 - he won four races last year, showed a really good performance and from the first test onwards I was really happy to have him in the team,” Tost said. 

“He surprised all of us by a fantastic performance and also by really good technical feedback. He has also a good overview of how to treat the tyres. 

“I must say that Toro Rosso has a very, very strong driver line-up this year and I’m convinced that both of them will have a lot of success in the future.” 

Albon felt a better result was possible at the second round of the season and has targeted improved qualifying performances after failing to make it into Q3 so far in 2019. 

“I enjoyed the race because it was busy and I learned a lot,” Albon explained. 

"We started battling and in Melbourne there wasn’t a lot of that. At least in Bahrain you are able to fight, so I can start to understand what happens when you follow other people and get close and everything like that. 

“I really do think there was more in it, it’s a bit of a shame the start, because I think with clean air we could have done a lot better. 

“Still, I’m happy with the performance. We just need to first qualify a bit better and get into Q3, because I think we can do that and then we’ll see in the race.

“I’m surprised that in Formula 1 you do your own race,” he added. 

"Everybody is pitting, exiting the pits, and you don’t really know who you’re fighting. It seems like you just finish the race and you go ‘great, just great!’ That’s F1, I think.”

Despite finding himself in Red Bull’s high-pressure environment, the 23-year-old insisted he has been able to enjoy his time in F1 so far following some sound advice from team boss Tost. 

“It’s very easy in this world, especially in F1, to feel under pressure all the time,” Albon said. “I’m here to enjoy it really. I love the sport. I loved my time in Melbourne. 

“I’m kind of taking it, not a step back to it all, but enjoying it really. Franz always tells me: don’t care, just don’t care, just do your thing. I do take it onboard as it is definitely a thing in F1.”

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