Alexander Albon is certain he’ll keep hold of fifth place on his Red Bull debut despite being summoned to a post-Belgian Grand Prix FIA Stewards investigation following a last-lap battle with Sergio Perez.

With Albon on the faster soft Pirelli tyres, the Formula 1 rookie had been reeling in his Racing Point rival over the closing stages while McLaren’s Lando Norris suffered a late engine issue to drop out from fifth place.

As the pair tussle for the ‘best of the rest’ place behind the leading Ferrari and Mercedes drivers, both drivers tried to briefly get behind each other to gain DRS at La Source for the Kemmel Straight at the start of the final lap.

Albon duly grabbed DRS and blasted past Perez, while being squeezed by the Mexican driver forcing him to put two wheels on the grass, but the Red Bull driver held his nerve to charge past into fifth place for his best career result in F1.

The incident sees both drivers summoned to an FIA hearing at Spa-Francorchamps, but speaking to the media immediately after the race Albon says the pair laughed about the incident at the end of the race.

“Basically DRS is almost too good in some respects so whoever gets DRS you overtake the car in front and with that in mind,” Albon said. “You always fight for DRS when you know you could lose position.

“I thought I had him covered but then he went wide in Turn 1 and I knew what he was up to. It was fun and we laughed about it afterwards.

“I have to run to the Stewards now for this. Here [Turn 1] we are playing the DRS game, Sergio wanted DRS and so it became like a Virtual Safety Car restart. The Racing Point was so quick down the straight all weekend so I was like ‘after you, no, after you’, and then got past.

“We had been catching Sergio at quite a good rate. Hopefully he is in the naughty seat [with the FIA Stewards].”

Reflecting on his Red Bull race debut, Albon was content with his performance after initially struggling to make progress through the F1 pack at the start of the race on the unfavoured medium tyres.

Albon used the alternative strategy, starting on the mediums before switching to the faster soft tyres to be able to attack late into the race, having gone into the Belgian Grand Prix carrying a heavy grid penalty for an engine change as he was handed the ‘Spec 4’ Honda power unit.

“I am a bit mixed as I felt I really struggled in the first half of that race, I struggled with the tyres, especially trying to get them up to temperature and that whole stint on the medium I was really nowhere,” he said.

“I was expecting to overtake a lot of cars and I didn’t. So we decided to pit a bit earlier to get on the soft tyres and I felt a lot more comfortable in the car and it all came alive. I had some good battles along the way.”

 

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