Albon outsmarts Perez during last lap 'DRS game'

© XPB 

Alex Albon's first race with Red Bull yielded a fifth-place finish in the Belgian GP which the rookie conquered on the final lap after a cat and mouse "DRS game" with Racing Point's Sergio Perez.

A challenging first half saw Albon progress from 17th on the grid into the top-ten only to fall back after his single medium-to-soft pit-stop. But a spirited drive in the final 20 laps on the red-rimmed compound put the British-Thai racer back into the points.

Albon overhauled Toro Rosso's Dany Kvyat to seize P7 and then pushed to bridge the gap with Perez, which he did in the closing laps.

The Red Bull charger was reticent however to mount an attack on his rival before the start of the final round, knowing that the Racing Point's straight-line speed combined with the DRS would give the Mexican a definitive edge on the run up the Kemmel straight to Les Combes.

As he purposefully restrained himself and let Perez lead the charge down to Eau Rouge and up the hill, Albon - with the help of DRS - eventually moved to overtake his rival on the right only for the Racing Point driver to squeeze Albon onto the grass, a maneuver that was frowned upon by the stewards who summoned both drivers to a hearing after the race.

"We were playing the DRS game [at Turn 1]," Albon explained, speaking to Sky F1.

"Obviously Sergio wants DRS and the Racing Point was [strong on the straights]. So it was like a VSC restart.

"The Racing Point was so quick down the straight all weekend – it was just kind of ‘after you’, ‘no, after you’ [out of La Source on the last lap].

"We were catching Sergio at quite a good rate [after Eau Rouge] and hopefully he’s in the naughty seat.

"DRS is almost too good in some respects, so whoever gets DRS you pretty much overtake the car in front and with that in mind, you always fight for DRS when you know you’re going to lose the position.

"It was good fun and we had a laugh about it afterwards."

Both drivers acknowledged that it had been a case of hard racing, a view shared by the stewards who ultimately decided that the Racing Point driver's move required no further action.

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