Alexander Albon’s first real day of Formula 1 testing at the Circuit de Catalunya left the Toro Rosso driver beaming with joy.

Tuesday was the British-Thai racer’s first proper run at the wheel of his team’s STR14 which he briefly sampled last weekend during the new car’s shakedown.

It was an inauspicious start however for the 22-year-old rookie who, caught out by the cold morning conditions, spun into the gravel trap on his very first out lap!

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Albon more than made up for the ill-timed mishap with 132 productive laps over the course of the day and P4 on the time-sheet.

“Today was up there with one of my all-time great experiences!,” said Albon.

“It’s been a really good day. At the start I was thinking to myself ‘don’t spin it this morning’, and that’s exactly what I did!

“It was really tricky out there because the track was so cold that you couldn’t drive slowly – as soon as you drive too slow your tyres get cold, it becomes unpredictable and it’s like driving on ice.

“Once I got into my rhythm it was a smooth day and we had no issues, apart from a couple of spins later on, but I was just exploring the limits to see what the car was capable of.”

Albon wasn’t completely unfamiliar with the STR14 or his environment, but in many ways it was still a first for the young apprentice, and one he will remember.

“I did a few laps on Wednesday for our Filming Day, so today wasn’t a totally new experience to drive an F1 car, and I’ve also been in the simulator many times, so I had a general idea of what the car could do,” he said.

“However, the high speed of the car is definitely new to me and it was a bit of a positive shock – I’m enjoying it a lot!

“I’m still smiling from when I got out of the car and I’ll continue smiling throughout tonight until tomorrow!”

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