Alexander Albon expressed happiness over his fifth-place finishing position at the Belgian Grand Prix on his Red Bull Racing debut.
After starting 17th on the grid having taken a raft of engine penalties, the Anglo-Thai driver appeared to struggle in his first stint in the race on Medium tyres as he attempted to make his way through the pack.
He later managed to charge through the field once he made the switch to the Soft tyres, being able to pick his rivals off at will.
“I’m very happy. P5 is an amazing result and we’ve got off to a great start,” said Albon. “I had some good fun out there and I enjoyed this race a lot. I started off the weekend very nervous and if you had told me I’d finish the race fifth I’d be very happy, but I’m a bit more relaxed now.
“It was actually a difficult race and in the first stint, I struggled with grip in the dirty air and couldn’t overtake anyone. But then once we pitted for the Soft tyres, the car came alive and I was like – now we can do something!
“The last lap was really good, I had a good fight with Sergio where we were both on the grass and it made for some good racing.”
Albon admits he felt little pressure from the team going into the weekend but was quick to point out he believed there was still room for improvement from his performance around the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
“There are definitely some areas I need to improve on and over the next few days I’ll get my head down, do some homework and address them for Monza,” he added.
“I will sit down with the team and understand why I struggled at the start, but I am still finding out the car’s little tricks and adapting to it. I didn’t really feel too much pressure coming into the weekend, I think the media thought I was going to, but I’ve enjoyed my week with the team.
“It’s been a good experience and a different way of working.
“Last night was very tough, us rookies knew Anthoine very well, so it’s been a stressful few hours and this morning felt strange. When you know a person and when they’re at the race track, it’s a very difficult atmosphere, so we dedicate this race to him.”