Albon was challenging Sainz’s McLaren for eighth on lap three and dived down the inside into the Roggia chicane.
The bold move meant he lacked momentum out of the chicane and Sainz was able to draw back alongside.
Albon stayed to the outside into the Lesmos, where a brush between the two cars meant the Red Bull ran through the gravel and dropped to 11th.
“He went really deep into Turn 4 [Roggia], really late braking with that Red Bull like we always see with Max [Verstappen] and everyone who drives that car,” said Sainz.
“I was quite surprised that he went for it and I managed to get a run on the inside to Turn 6 [Lesmo one].
“In the middle of Turn 6 I made a bit of a nudge on the rear and I think that was just enough to get him a bit out of line, which I apologised for over the radio at that point, but it was honestly hard racing and I lost the car a bit so there is nothing I would have done differently.”
He was later given a five-second time penalty for skipping the Roggia chicane in a subsequent battle with Kevin Magnussen but eventually made it through to sixth.
“It was a bit of a messy race. In saying that, I felt the moves I went for were justified; it wasn’t as if I was doing anything crazy,” said Albon.
He felt his trip off the road in the battle with Sainz had been more down to him running too wide than any contact.
“I felt like my initial move was quite good, I quite liked my move on the first part,” Albon said of the pass into the chicane.
“He got the switchback, which was a good move by him. And then I know I have more grip than him in the corners, so I did try it around the outside and I thought the move was on.
“I think he would have had the corner into Lesmo two, but that was kind of my plan, to get him into Ascari, just to keep him off-line into the second part.
“We’re talking small margins, I dropped my wheel maybe 10cm wider than I would have liked and I got into the gravel.”
But he felt the penalty he received for the Magnussen incident was “a bit harsh”.
Photo by: Sam Bloxham / LAT Images
The stewards’ document revealed that Albon had been offered the chance to avoid a penalty by letting Magnussen back through but Red Bull “declined on the basis that it believed that car #23 [Albon] had been forced off the track”.
Albon argued that he had gone down the escape road in avoidance of a move by Magnussen and that Daniil Kvyat also getting involved in the battle then complicated the issue when the possibility of handing a place back was raised.
“I thought it was a bit harsh, because I did the move down the straight, I was ahead at the time,” said Albon.
“He went for the move, which was fair enough to him. If I turned in we would have crashed, so I had to go straight.
“I wouldn’t call it a divebomb, but there was nowhere for me to go so I had no choice but to cut the chicane.
“And because I was so deep I got overtaken straight away by Dany, so I was a bit like ‘I’m not going to go back two positions to try and get back two’. So I just had to keep going. I understand why they gave it to me, I just couldn’t go anywhere.”
Additional reporting by Oleg Karpov