Alexander Albon says he no longer felt like he was a Formula 1 rookie following his mid-season graduation to Red Bull due to the level of expectation within the team.

Albon made the step up to the Red Bull senior team from Toro Rosso at the Belgian Grand Prix to replace the underperforming Pierre Gasly for the second half of the season, with Gasly returning to the Faenza squad in a direct swap.

Despite having never driven an F1 prior to 2019, the British-born Thai driver impressed in his first 12 races with Toro Rosso and subsequently earned a Red Bull call up.

A run of consecutive top six finishes led to Albon being retained alongside Max Verstappen for 2020. Albon claimed a best result of fourth in Japan and was in contention for a maiden podium in Brazil before being spun around by Lewis Hamilton on the penultimate lap.

“I sometimes have to tell myself that I’m still a rookie because being in Red Bull the feeling kind of goes away a bit with the expectation and everything,” Albon explained.

“On reflection I am happy with [my year]. I do notice the good moments but It’s just human nature and the way I am, I am hard on myself and I do want to improve all the time.

“I don’t want it to be an excuse that I’m a rookie. I just want to be quick on that weekend for being quick. It’s just part of me and part of my drive to just improve as a driver. I know there’s still scope for me to improve on.

“I realise that I’m still learning and for a first year I’m happy with how it’s gone.”

Albon ultimately ended the year eighth in the drivers’ championship having scored 92 points, 76 of which were recorded while driving for Red Bull.

Asked what he felt was the biggest thing he has learned within Red Bull’s environment, Albon replied: “It applies to all of it but it’s not to listen to anyone too much, including you guys [the media]. Do my own thing and just focus on myself really.

“It is a team sport but it’s very individual in the way you have to approach your driving, kind of putting myself first in terms of questioning where I can improve and what I need to do to be better.

“That’s the main thing for me this year and just take it a bit easier in free practice and try not to overdrive too quickly.”

 

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