Alex Albon’s demise shows “how hard Formula 1 can be”, according to his friend Lando Norris.
As well as George Russell, Norris and Albon also raced through the junior ranks together and remained close as they ascended to the pinnacle of motorsport.
British-born Thai Albon was often the quicker of the trio in the junior categories, but he notably struggled alongside Max Verstappen at Red Bull last year and has been replaced by Sergio Perez.
He will be a reserve driver whilst racing in the German touring car series DTM in 2021.
“Formula 1 can be a very hard world and we’re seeing that again,” Norris, 21, said on Monday when asked about Albon’s demise.
“It’s difficult because I’m good friends with Alex. We get along well and have always had good conversations, although we haven’t actually talked much about Red Bull,” the McLaren driver added.
“I’m sorry for him,” Norris said. “He’s a very good driver.
“It’s hard – it just goes to show again how hard Formula 1 can be. It can even happen to an extremely good driver.
“He beat everyone in all the junior categories, but once you’re in Formula 1 it’s all different – just a bit more competitive. It can be a very unfair world.
“You can lose your spot just like that and it’s all over as quickly as it started. I don’t know what to say about it – I like Alex and have a lot of respect for him.
“It’s a shame he lost his seat but I’m sure he’s going to do everything he can to fight back and get back into F1,” Norris added.
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