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Albon explains how cycling incident with Russell impacted his career

Alex Albon has faced several ups and downs in his racing career, with a low point coming after he was injured whilst out cycling with good friend and fellow F1 driver George Russell.

Alex Albon has recalled how a cycling trip with George Russell resulted in an accident that he feared, at the time, could put an end to his racing career. The two F1 drivers have been good friends since their days spent in junior categories and, during Albon's debut Formula 2 season in 2017, Albon says they shared a trainer and were "practically living together". "He lived about two minutes from my house, but he would eat more food at my house than I ate at my own house," Albon told the Motor Sport Magazine Podcast . "He was always coming around. We would always have lunch and dinner together. He was kind of part of the family." On one occasion, Albon and Russell decided to go mountain biking in the forest nearby. With Russell having forgotten his bike, Albon let him borrow his "good bike", whilst he used his spare bicycle, which did not have functioning rear brakes. During the outing, they came across a new area, something that Albon admits is "always a little bit dangerous", but he initially felt that the straight path ahead "looked fine". "I was going fairly quickly but not breakneck speed," the Thai driver said. "I'm not some maniac on a bike. Suddenly there's this kind of... We didn't realise at the time, but we were going down a horse track, and there was kind of this horse jump thing." This meant that, behind some branches, there was a "massive drop". Albon says that he "panicked" when he saw this and, after coming off his bike, landed on his collarbone, which he broke in the incident.

How Albon's accident affected his Formula 2 career

As a result of the accident, Albon was forced to miss one race weekend in Formula 2. The future F1 driver had had a reasonably strong start to the season, but felt that his car was not the same upon his return due to a crash suffered by his replacement, Sergey Sirotkin. "I came back [at the Red Bull Ring] and I was expecting a bit more, I finished, like, fifth and sixth," Albon explained. "And then, from that point onwards, it was a disaster. I had a terrible season, and it was just one of those seasons which just never clicked. "I never want to point fingers at anything, but I still believe that there was something wrong with the car that, after the crash, it was never the same. "And yeah, it was one of [those] things. It was disappointing at the time, but it basically meant from going, I think I was like, third in the championship before the incident, to finishing absolutely nowhere. "I was seventh or something like that, which in a top team was devastating." As such, Albon feared that his racing career might be coming to an end. "It wasn't good enough," he said. "At that point, I didn't have the funding to go again, and I was back to square one. I was back to 2012. I was back to this feeling like I wasn't going to be able to race, and it was kind of one of them weird things where, I finished the season, and, during that whole season, I was just struggling. I was [thinking that] it all feels like it's falling away a little bit." Albon believes that a post-season test in Abu Dhabi "saved" him, and allowed him to feel that he could continue. He went on to finish third in the 2018 Formula 2 season, and was then handed his F1 debut one year later. Now, after a year on the sidelines, Albon makes his return to the Formula 1 grid with Williams in 2022.

RESULTS 2024 F1 Chinese Grand Prix - Sprint Shootout