Alexander Albon admits his promotion to Red Bull in 2019 meant he often forgot to give himself some leeway for being a rookie in Formula 1.

The Thai-British driver only drove a current F1 car for the first time during pre-season testing last year, ahead of his debut with Toro Rosso. Following an impressive performance in the first half of 2019, he replaced Pierre Gasly at Red Bull during the summer break. With a more competitive car at his disposal, Albon admits the increased expectations at Red Bull dominated his thinking at times.

“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,” Albon said. “On reflection, I am happy with (the rookie season). 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. 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.”

Heading into his second season, Albon says the most important lesson he learned last year was to not pay too much attention to influences outside of his control.

“It applies to all of it, but it’s not to listen to anyone too much — including you guys (the media). Do my own thing and just focus on myself really.

“It is a team sport, but it’s very individual in the way you have to approach your driving — putting myself first in terms of questioning where I can improve and what I need to do to be better. That’s the main thing for me, and just to take it a bit easier in free practice and try not to overdrive too quickly.”

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