Max Verstappen says his former Red Bull team mate Alexander Albon deserves his chance to return to Formula 1 next year.
The 25-year-old endured a tough season alongside Verstappen last year, scoring less than half as many points as his team mate before being dropped by Red Bull at the end of the year. Williams confirmed yesterday Albon will join their team for the 2022 F1 season alongside Nicholas Latifi.
“I’m very happy with Alex coming back into Formula 1,” said Verstappen. “He’s a great guy, he’s a hard worker, and he definitely deserves a spot in Formula 1.
“He has a lot of talent. I’m also very sure that he will come back strong and will show good results.”
After losing his race seat last year Albon remained with Red Bull as their development driver. His relationship with Verstappen has therefore continued through Albon’s work exploring set-up options on the RB16B using the team’s simulator during race weekends.
“We talk a lot about the car and, when Alex is on the simulator, his findings,” Verstappen explained. “Also when we have questions after Friday and Alex is on the sim or whatever, he knows the car.
“Of course the car changed a little bit from last year and the year before but the general way of driving is the same. So you can relate about a lot of stuff, what’s going on also with development stuff. So, of course, it’s been very helpful on the simulator for us.”
Albon’s return to F1 has come about due to George Russell’s move to Mercedes, which created at vacancy at Williams. Verstappen expects he will perform well alongside world champion Lewis Hamilton.
“I’m happy for George, but I think this was quite a logical step and I think everyone could see it coming,” said Verstappen. “It was maybe the worst-kept-secret anyway. So it’s not a shock. It’s normal when you’re doing well and you’re a young guy, of course, at one point, when you are linked with Mercedes, you will end up there.
“So I’m very happy for George that he got the seat and I’m sure he will do a good job there.”
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