Albon was dropped by Red Bull at the end of 2020 after one-and-a-half seasons as Verstappen’s team-mate, with the team opting to bring in Sergio Perez as his replacement.
Albon has worked as Red Bull’s reserve driver through this year, but will make a racing comeback in 2022 after being signed by Williams to replace George Russell.
Verstappen said he was “very happy” to see Albon make an F1 return after a year away.
“He’s been my team-mate, he’s a great guy, he’s a hard worker, and he definitely deserves a spot in Formula 1,” Verstappen said.
“He has a lot of talent, so I’m also very sure that he will come back strong and show good results.”
Albon struggled to match Verstappen’s level of performance during their time together at Red Bull, scoring just two podiums.
Verstappen said it was “difficult” for him to judge how Albon would fare at Williams compared to his time at Red Bull, but agreed that he may benefit from the different environment.
“I don’t know how he looks at it,” Verstappen said.
“He knows he has the speed. I think we all know that he has, he showed this from go karting.
“But probably in a less pressured environment will be good to come back like that. I’m sure he will do well.
“Of course you need to get used to the car, we all do with the new rules. But he’ll do good.”
Alex Albon, Williams
Photo by: Williams
Red Bull has repeatedly highlighted Albon’s contribution to the team in his reserve role this season, completing a significant amount of work on the simulator to support Verstappen and Perez on race weekends.
Verstappen explained how Albon’s recent experience racing with the team made his feedback particularly useful through this season.
“We talk a lot of course about the car and when Alex is on the simulator, [about] his findings,” Verstappen said.
“So when we have questions after Friday, and Alex is on the sim or whatever, he knows the car.
“Of course the car has changed a little bit from last year and the year before, but the general way of driving is the same. So he can relate about a lot of stuff, what’s going on with development stuff.
“He’s been very helpful on the simulator for us.”