FORMER Essex schoolboy Alex Albon says he is taking it one step at a time as he starts his first race with championship winning F1 team Red Bull

The 23-year-old has had a whirlwind of an eight months since joining the topflight racing series.

Alex, who is a former pupil at Littlegarth School, in Nayland, started his F1 career with Toro Rosso at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

Since then he has scored points at five of the 12 Grand Prix held this year - his best finish was sixth place at a rain-hit German Grand Prix.

Over the summer it was announced he had been promoted to the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team, the sister team of Toro Rosso.

He will race alongside race winner Max Verstappen at the team from the Belgium Grand Prix this weekend, replacing Pierre Gasly.

The British-Thai driver admitted it was exciting but he was also nervous too.

"Not many drivers get the chance to drive a car capable of winning a race so early in their F1 career, so it’s a great opportunity to be driving for Red Bull," he said.

"I want to see what it’s like compared to what I’m used to, but at the same time, I know this weekend is my first time in the car, I’m still learning and improving as a driver and there’s definitely more to come.

"I know one of the main differences will be the noise and attention that comes with the move but I’m keeping my feet on the ground.

"I’m just focusing on the job I have to do for Spa. I’ll be doing a lot of listening and observing."

Alex started his karting career while at Littlegarth School, with teachers making adjustments to allow him to compete and keep up with his school work.

He became hooked on racing after going to his first event at Silverstone when he was five,

“Everyday after school I was nagging my dad to let me drive as much as possible," he said.

"There was some open land next to where we lived and he would put down some bricks to make a figure-of-eight track, and time me just doing laps, it went from there.”

Alex admitted he the call up was a chance to prove himself.

"This is a big step, but I feel I’ve been through these big jumps before and taken the opportunities – I’m not worried about that," he said.

"I’m focused and ready to be as strong as possible for the second half of the year.”

Qualifying for the Belgium Grand Prix takes place on Saturday, with the race on Sunday.