In the backdrop of his poor 2020 season, Alex Albon has acknowledged how important the two crashes he had with Lewis Hamilton affected his stay at Red Bull.
Alex Albon has spoken out about how his confidence was affected by his two high-profile battles with Lewis Hamilton during the 2020 Formula One season.
During Albon’s stint with Red Bull, the British-Thai racer collided with Hamilton twice, the first time at Interlagos in late 2019 as Albon acclimated to life with his new team.
Albon had nearly completed an overtaking move on Hamilton when the Mercedes driver touched the Red Bull’s rear-right wheel, spinning him off and out of the points, with Albon seeking a high podium result, possibly even a victory.
A similar event occurred in Austria early in 2020, with Albon looking good for a strong podium finish until Hamilton tagged his rear-right wheel, sending him into the gravel.
Albon was replaced by Sergio Perez for 2021 when his self-confidence began to erode throughout 2020, despite achieving his maiden podium at Mugello. He secured a racing return with Williams for 2022 after a year on the sidelines working as a development and reserve driver for Red Bull.
When asked if the two heated exchanges with Hamilton were crucial in giving Red Bull the reassurance they needed about his potential, Albon said the clashes were never game-changing for his career.
“No, I don’t,” he said on the Beyond the Grid podcast. “Of course, if I had better results, it would have put things in a completely different mindset. I do remember my first race or second race in Austria.”
“One of the races, I was getting bashed like, ‘Where’s your performance? Where’s your lap time?’
“I was like, ‘Hold on a minute, it wasn’t even that bad. Everyone chill out a bit!’
“I think a result like that would have quietened it all down. I would have had the next few races – six, seven races – with a bit less of that noise.”
“The noise started from the very first race of the year. It was quite intense [for me], ‘What’s going wrong, what’s going on?’
“For sure, it would have helped, but I never, ever would blame Lewis for any of my, ‘What’s happened to me?’, in that sense. It’s all on me.”