Thai racer Alex Albon thanked Red Bull for their faith in him after he took his first Formula One podium finish at the Tuscan Grand Prix; the first podium finish for a driver under the Thai flag since the F1 competition began. He is the second racer to represent Thailand on the F1 grid after Prince Birabongse Bhanudej Bhanubandh, or ‘B Bira’, in the 1950s.
The 24-year-old finished third behind the Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas to become the first Thai on the podium since the championship started.
Daniel Ricciardo nearly delivered a first podium for Renault since their return to F1 in 2016 but it wasn’t to be as Red Bull’s Alex Albon swept by the Australian late on to score his maiden F1 podium at Mugello in Tuscany, Italy.
Albon was born in London, England, his father Nigel is a former British racing driver who participated in the British Touring Car Championship and Porsche Carrera Cup. His mother, Kankamol, is from Thailand. He cites Michael Schumacher and Valentino Rossi as as being inspirational figures when he was younger. Albon holds dual British and Thai nationality, but races under the Thai flag.
Thanks for sticking with me,” Albon said over the team radio; “the team (Red Bull) has supported me since Day One. It’s really good to get a podium, just to show that I can do it.”
Team boss Christian Horner, who had indicated earlier in the week that Red Bull were happy with the Thai, said he was pleased for him. “He’s weathered a bit of criticism, he’s bounded back,” he said. “To be fair, the last couple of weekends he’s been getting stronger and stronger.
“For him to get that podium today, he had to really fight for it. He had to do it the hard way.” Asked about the radio message, Horner suggested Albon could be ‘too nice’, but once he puts the helmet on, you can see there’s a real racer in there.
There’s a big difference between thinking you can do it and knowing you can do it. I think this podium for him will just give him a boost of confidence and self-belief. I think he really will build from here quite nicely.”