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Alex Albon: Why Is He in the Spotlight?

Written by Orlaigh Mullen, Edited by Meghana Sree

Credit - Michael Potts/BSR Agency/Getty Images

The Formula 1 Williams driver, Alex Albon, has been in the spotlight for his outstanding performance at the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix. Albon caught the attention of F1 fans for his ability to defend his P7 finish from the McLaren and Alpine drivers for a number laps. However, this Grand Prix is only one of his several successes this 2023 season. Here we will look at the best of Albon’s performances this season, and whether he deserves more praise for his driving skills.

Albon started the F1 season in Bahrain, qualifying P15, then driving up to P9 in the Williams to secure points for the team. From the start, Albon demonstrated an ability to be in contention for some well-deserved points, by climbing six places.

However, after a successful first race, his next two Grands Prix were followed by bad luck. At the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Albon qualified P17, and later climbed to P13 in the race. Albon battelled Valtteri Bottas by overtaking him into turn one after being pressured into the pit wall. Just as Albon went to climb another place from Nico Hulkenberg on lap twenty-six, due to a brake failure, Albon had to retire his car. A few weeks later in Australia, Albon surprised fans with his qualifying performance, where his straight-line speed in sector two consistently gave him green and purple sectors. Albon made it to Q3 and qualified P8. During the race, Albon then climbed his way to P6, however this victory was cut short when Albon crashed at turn seven, lap seven.

If we look at what Albon succeeded in before his two race retirements, we can see he was providing considerably fast laps during the qualifying sessions, and was overtaking several drivers throughout the races. It is evident from this that Albon can get the most out of his Williams car, both in qualifying and the race itself.

However, it was only during the Canadian Grand Prix when Albon’s performance was widely recognised and highlighted. Despite not making the podium, Albon stood out to fans for his defending skills. In qualifying, Albon pulled out a very smart strategy decision to go straight out in Q2 on soft tyres. He was the first and only driver to do so on the previously wet track, leading to the other drivers following in his footsteps. Albon then finished Q2 with a fantastic P1, ahead of the defending World Champion, Max Verstappen. In Q3, Albon was unlucky after a red flag which meant that he could not complete a clean flying lap, leading to him qualifying P10. During the race, Albon surprised many by driving the Williams car up into P7, and he defended his position there for an impressive fifty-seven laps, from the DRS train behind him. He finished behind the Red Bull driver, Sergio Perez, and was awarded a well-deserved Driver of the Day with 28.7% of votes.

Albon shocked fans with his skills to both set the fastest qualifying times, overtaking during the race, and holding onto his race position. The question is, what is next for Albon? Albon joined Williams for the 2022 season, and then announced his contract extension to 2023 and beyond. The only disclosure of Albon’s contract length is that it is ‘multi-year’. It therefore remains unknown how successful Albon’s future is in F1, but for now we can watch him attempt to climb up from his current P12 ranking in the drivers’ standings.


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