Albon hoping to inspire Thais and Asians


Alex Albon is hoping that his debut F1 podium on Sunday will encourage Thais and Asians to enter the sport.

Despite the best efforts of the Sky F1 pundits and Lewis Hamilton, Red Bull has kept faith with Alex Albon, and on Sunday he repaid its belief in him by claiming his first F1 podium.

Achieved amidst the Mugello madness, his result went some way to making up for the obvious disappointment in Max Verstappen recording his second DNF in as many weeks.

"Well done Alex, you did it the hard way today," said Christian Horner as the youngster crossed the line. "A really well-deserved podium."

"Thanks everyone," he responded. "Thanks for everything. Thanks for sticking with me."

Other than the confidence boost he has given himself, Albon, who is the first Thai driver to stand on the F1 podium, is hoping that he will inspire his countrymen and other Asians into the sport.

"I'm proud to wave the flag for everyone in Thailand that has been supporting me throughout my career," he said.

"It's weird to think about, but I would love Thai people to see they can compete at the very top, not just as drivers, it's also mechanics, engineers, trainers," he continued.

"There are so many jobs you can do in F1 and it would be amazing to see more Thai and Asian people interested and taking part in motor sports. I hope results like on Sunday can provide that inspiration."

Prior to the Mugello mayhem, Albon had appeared podium-bound on two previous occasions, Brazil last year and this year's season-opener, but in both races he was involved in incident with Lewis Hamilton.

"I would like to say it could have, and should have, happened sooner, but to get it the way we did was nice," said Albon. "It wasn't an easy race, we had to fight for it and it took some overtakes on the track to get it.

"I wanted to thank the guys for supporting me since day one," he said of his radio message. "It's been a long and difficult year so far, even though things have been getting better, the results didn't show that. I just wanted to say thanks to everyone."

Prior to Mugello criticism of the youngster had been building, the Sky F1 team - taking time out from discussing how to pronounce AlphaTauri - suggesting week after week that Pierre Gasly should be drafted back into the team alongside Max Verstappen.

Of course, the Frenchman's win at Monza caused the speculation to go off the scale, with Lewis Hamilton joining in for good measure.

"(Gasly's win) doesn't make a difference," Albon told ESPN. "It's nice to see other drivers doing well but I wouldn't say it motivates me more, because I'm a pretty motivated guy as it is."

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Published: 17/09/2020
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