The Guadalajara driver was leading in the closing stages of the race when he was told not to stop Max Verstappen. It was pointed out to him that the two had a different strategy. Sergio Perez then said he didn’t think the team’s decision was fair as Verstappen didn’t have to dodge for him earlier in the race when he had a tire advantage. Because Perez, like Verstappen, also had to make a third pit stop at the end, he finished thirteen seconds behind the Dutchman. “I’m happy for the team, but we’ll have to talk later,” he reported in the warm-up lap.
When ex-Formula 1 driver Pedro de la Rosa asked him in front of the camera immediately after the race if he could have won the race, Perez replied diplomatically: “I think it was close. But in the end it’s a great result for the team. I’m happy with that.” When asked about the frustration he expressed over the team radio, he said: “We had different tire strategies back then. I let Max pass at the beginning and then assumed that I could overtake him , so I don’t lose any crucial seconds and my strategy can work. In any case, it’s a good result for the team.”
Horner defends team orders
Team boss Christian Horner said it wasn’t worth the risk at the end of the race to see Verstappen and Perez battling for the lead while also adding a pit stop for the Mexican. “We’ve seen other cars struggle with rising temperatures. And the last thing you want is to run into a DNF on your way to a one-two,” said Horner Sky Sports† “They both had different strategies, so it wasn’t a real fight either. Max had such a huge tire advantage back then and the Checo tires would never have made it to the end. So we brought him in towards the end of the race, which gave him the opportunity to get the extra point for the fastest lap.”
Horner makes it clear that both Red Bull drivers are still free to fight each other. “Absolutely, but we have a responsibility to score as many points as possible with both cars. And Checo couldn’t see at that moment that Max had a big tire advantage because he drove a long stint on the medium tire. He will see that now. It just didn’t make sense to risk a DNF in these rising temperatures, so it was absolutely the right thing to do. The difference between the two was so big. Max was two seconds faster at one point. There was no point in letting them fight.”