Red Bull praises 'real racer' Albon after maiden F1 podium at Mugello

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Red Bull boss Christian Horner has praised Alex Albon's resolve after claiming his maiden Formula 1 podium at the Tuscan Grand Prix.

The Thai driver came through from fifth to third in the final 14-lap dash after the second red flag, passing Daniel Ricciardo in a good move around the outside of Turn 1 to secure his place behind the two Mercedes'.

For Albon, it was the perfect response to questions over his future at Red Bull after Pierre Gasly's win for AlphaTauri at Monza, and he noted the continued backing the senior team has shown him.

"Thanks for sticking with me," Albon said over the team radio on the in-lap.

Then on Sky Sports, he added: "The team has supported me since day one, it's really good to get a podium, just to show that I can do it."

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Sunday's P3 meant Albon was the first Red Bull driver not named Max Verstappen to stand on the rostrum since Daniel Ricciardo's last win for the team in Monaco two years ago.

And after coming close twice to achieving it, Horner believes to have finally done it means this could be a turning point.

“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.”

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As for the radio call, Horner admitted sometimes Alex can be "too nice" but...

"But once he puts the helmet on, you can see there's a real racer in there," he continued. "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."