Alexander Albon says his year out of racing in 2021 enabled him to "get some headspace" away from Formula 1 after losing his seat at Red Bull.
Promoted to the senior Red Bull squad in mid-2019, Albon impressed in his half-season alongside Max Verstappen after Pierre Gasly was demoted back to Toro Rosso.
However, the Thai driver struggled in the 2020 campaign, only taking his first podium in Mugello and a later one in Bahrain - after a hefty practice crash and Sergio Perez's Racing Point had retired.
Perez would win the Sakhir Grand Prix in late 2020, with his form being a factor in Red Bull's decision to sign the Mexican and drop Albon from a race seat.
He returned to the grid for 2022 with a deal at Williams - and is set to stay as team leader for the '23 campaign - where is he partnered by rookie Logan Sargeant.
Viewed by others:
Reflecting on his year out, Albon admitted he needed a mental break from Grand Prix racing.
"The year away was a chance to get some headspace away from the world of Formula 1," he explained to media, including RacingNews365.com.
"When you are in a situation where you are having a tough year, it is relentless and you're not really getting a break from [the media] or the performance side of things.
"Obviously, the most frustrating side of things is that we are competitive and we're not doing as well as we know we should be or that things aren't connecting.
"A year away can really give you that headspace to firstly analyse and self-reflect on why it didn't work.
"I wouldn't have chosen a year away, it was not by choice, but I felt like when I came back, I was more sure of myself, more confident in my ability.
"Then how I started performing it felt like there was clearly a lot of motivation and wanting to prove myself, but despite having a year away from the sport, I still felt very connected.
"I knew that as soon as I come back, it would take no real time to get back into it, and it'll sound strange, but I felt like a better driver than before I even started."
Revealed: 2023 F1 driver salaries
How much money will F1's class of 2023 take home with them? It's easy to assume that the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc are the sport's biggest earners, find out which F1 stars take home the biggest pay cheques:
Check out the video below: