FIA Rookie of the Year Albon lost rookie feeling after Red Bull move

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FIA's 'Rookie of the Year' Alex Albon admits he lost the feeling of being a Formula 1 rookie after switching to Red Bull mid-season.

The Thai driver hadn't even driven an F1 car before this year when Red Bull negotiated him out of a Formula E deal with Nissan to race with Toro Rosso in 2019.

Then, after a solid first 12 races, he was given the chance to prove himself alongside Max Verstappen and performed amicably with eight top-six finishes in the final races.

“It’s been something I could never imagine,” Albon said of the past 12 months after being given the award at the FIA gala.

“Even just to be in Formula E and a professional driver, I was amazed and it felt like progress in the whole professional world of motor racing.

“Then I got the call from Toro Rosso, which was a dream come true and then fast-forward six months to get a call from Red Bull to be in the main team, it was amazing.”

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Even when Albon made mistakes, however, notably crashing out in final practice in China, he refused to use his rookie status as an excuse and admitted, when given the task of racing at the front of the grid, he often forgot it was his first F1 season.

“I sometimes have to tell myself that I’m still a rookie because being in Red Bull the feeling kind of goes away a bit with the expectation and everything,” he told Crash.net.

“On reflection, I am happy with [my year]. I do notice the good moments but It’s just human nature and the way I am, I am hard on myself and I do want to improve all the time.

“I don’t want it to be an excuse that I’m a rookie. I just want to be quick on that weekend for being quick. It’s just part of me and part of my drive to just improve as a driver. I know there’s still scope for me to improve on.

“I realise that I’m still learning and for a first year, I’m happy with how it’s gone."

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