George Russell believes that Alex Albon's performances for Williams prove that he deserves a seat in F1.
Following a difficult year at Red Bull in 2020, Albon was left without a drive in 2021, but stayed on as Red Bull's test and reserve driver.
Albon was able to return to the grid for the 2022 season after signing for Williams to race alongside Nicholas Latifi.
So far this season, the Anglo-Thai driver has scored all three of Williams' points and has compared favourably to Latifi in qualifying and the races.
Russell publicly backed Albon when he was under fire at Red Bull, and recently commented that his 2022 performances justified his place on the grid.
It comes after any hopes of a Red Bull return for next season were killed by a new deal handed to Monaco Grand Prix race-winner Sergio Perez.
But Russell's patient rise from Williams to Mercedes has mapped a route back to the top for Albon, who will be hoping to use the team as a springboard for future success.
"Alex has done an exceptional job," Russell told media, including RacingNews365.com. "I think there was no secret he had a tough time at Red Bull but I think all of us, even probably Max included, knew how talented Alex was.
"We've all raced each other ever since 2011. Alex was a few years older than us, so we saw him competing at the time in KF1 [karting championship] and he's always been there [towards the front].
"He's always been one of the very best so it's no surprise to me. I'm happy to see that he's back in Formula One and I think cemented his position."
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Latifi: I knew Albon was going to be fast
Nicholas Latifi has come under increasing pressure since the Albon's arrival at the start of the season. Despite having an extra two seasons of experience at Williams, Latifi has been out-scored and out-qualified by his teammate.
Latifi was previously teammates with Russell prior to the Briton's promotion to Mercedes for 2022. When asked if he could see similarities between Russell and Albon, Latifi commented that he knew both would be quick from their time in the junior racing categories.
"I think it goes without saying they're both extremely quick drivers," added Latifi.
"When Alex was announced as the race driver who's going to be my teammate [for 2022], I had no illusions that he was going to be on the pace straight away despite him missing out a year.
"I raced against him as his teammate in 2018 and I know just how quick he was. In many ways there are similarities and some little differences in driving style here and there which I knew going into this season as well.
"It's been great having both them as teammates."
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