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Toro Rosso F1 driver Albon 'begged' DAMS for Formula 2 race seat

New Toro Rosso Formula 1 driver Alexander Albon "begged" DAMS managing director Francois Sicard for a 2018 Formula 2 race seat because he did not have the necessary budget

Albon's outstanding year in F2 resulted in three pole positions, four wins and four podiums as he secured third overall, off the back of a poor debut F2 season with ART Grand Prix the previous year.

He contested the first three rounds of the year on a race-by-race deal, with his place only confirmed for the remainder of the season after May's Barcelona round.

Albon's performances impressed DAMS enough to offer him a deal with its sister e.dams operation that runs Nissan's Formula E programme, only for Red Bull to step in and sign him to replace Brendon Hartley at Toro Rosso.

"I remember in January or February, [speaking] on the phone to Francois [Sicard] literally begging to have the seat for this year and I didn't have the money for it, and he put me in it anyway," said Albon.

"From then on it was always about proving a point and staying in the championship.

"It's been a big rollercoaster.

"To end with third, [I'm a] bit disappointed as I think we deserved to finish second.

"I'm happy with this year, it's all down to DAMS.

"I believe GP3 was my true pace [Albon finished second to Charles Leclerc in 2016], F2 last year for different reasons things didn't go as planned [when he was 10th with ART]. This year was a continuation of 2016."

Albon was a title contender from the start of the year, taking three consecutive pole positions at Baku, Barcelona and Monaco.

"The three poles in a row were really cool for me," added Albon, who finished behind George Russell and Lando Norris in the points.

"It stood out to me, raw pace-wise we were really strong.

"It faded out a bit towards the end of the year.

"The first feature race win in F2 was another highlight, in Baku. It wasn't a normal win but to come out in front was mega."

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