Albon still not back to 100 per cent after surgery

Alexander Albon (THA) Williams Racing FW44 on the grid. 20.11.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 22, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, Race
© XPB 

Williams driver Alex Albon has admitted that he's still not back to full fitness after suffering from appendicitis during the Italian GP weekend at Monza in September.

Albon was forced to miss the race after being taken ill before final practice and qualifying, and his seat was filled at very short notice by Nyck de Vries.

The Dutch driver went on to finish in the points while Albon watched on from his hospital bed, having suffered from rare post-surgical complications. Even so, he was as "fit as I can be" in time for the next race in Singapore.

But although he was cleared to race, Albon says he found it tough going when he got back behind the wheel, and that even now he still wasn't back to his peak level of fitness.

"I would say [I need the] winter to get to 100 per cent," he said in Abu Dhabi in response to questions from ""We didn't have the time to train to really get back that fitness.

"Realistically speaking, Singapore was tough, Japan was 75 per cent, and after Japan I felt pretty good," he added.

Alexander Albon (THA) Williams Racing. 22.11.2022. Formula 1 Testing, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, Tuesday

The illness was unfortunate timing for Albon, who had been growing in form and confidence since his return to F1 with Williams at the start of the season, after a year on the sidelines since being dropped by Red Bull.

Albon was ninth in Miami and tenth in Australia. He had qualified for the Belgium Grand Prix in sixth place and rated his chances of points at Monza before falling ill - as de Vries' performance confirmed.

"I feel like the biggest one was being healthy for Monza, that would have been my main points opportunity," Albon confirmed.

"Other than that, I'm not sure," he mused. "I really do feel like in the moments where we've had the chance to score points, we have [done].

De Vries 'supersub' performance resulted in a rush of interest from F1 teams in the former Formula 2 and Formula E champion, who went on to secure a regular seat for 2023 with AlphaTauri.

Meanwhile Williams finished the current season at the bottom of the constructors championship, having been eighth in 2021 when George Russell was the squad's lead driver.

Alexander Albon (THA) Williams Racing FW44 on the grid. 20.11.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 22, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, Race

"Unfortunately that's where we are this year," Albon acknowledged. "It's been a year where we've had everything to go perfectly for us, a bit of fortune as well, that gets us into the points.

"We don't want it to happen next year. We want to work hard, really nail the balance issues we've been having this year," he noted.

"If we can get on top of that, I feel like as a team we seem to be maximising our opportunities. That's good," he said. "I feel like that shows we're operating in the correct way.

"If we get a better car, we're going to be fighting for better opportunities more consistently and scoring more points."

Next season, Albon will have a new team mate in the form of American rookie Logan Sargeant, who is taking over from Nicholas Latifi.

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