Horner: It’s fantastic to see Alex take his first F1 podium

Alexander Albon

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has hailed driver Alexander Albon for his performance in the Tuscan Grand Prix, with the Thai getting his long-awaited first career podium.

Having come close twice before only to crash-out while battling Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton on both occasions, Albon finally managed to break his duck on Sunday at Mugello by completing a similar move on the Renault of Daniel Ricciardo.

“I had the Lewis flashbacks going into the corner,” he joked to Sky Sports F1 afterwards. “But Daniel left enough space and it was all OK.”

Horner, who has stuck by Albon despite his struggles to match the performances of Red Bull number one Max Verstappen, said the performance was only the first step towards bigger and better things.

“It’s fantastic to see Alex take his first F1 podium,” he said. “He’s done a great job all weekend and he had to pass some tough competitors to fight his way back through the field after a couple of difficult starts.

“All credit to him because he hasn’t let the negativity or external criticism get him down, he’s picked himself up and put in a first class performance.

“I think this podium will give him a boost of confidence and self-belief and I’m sure he will only get stronger from here.”

Now fifth in the driver’s championship with 63 points, Albon went on to reciprocate Horner’s remarks.

“It’s really nice to give the team something back after they’ve supported me since day one and show them what I can do. It was a tough race and definitely not one of the easy ones.

“When we lost two positions on the final re-start, I was fired up as I wasn’t going to let the opportunity of a podium go by so I pushed hard to get third and I’m over the moon with today’s result.”