Sergio Perez seemed to be heading for a podium place, a long way from Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, but in the end his team decided to make a second pit stop. As a result, he had to make a small catch up again, but he came just short to take P3 from Fernando Alonso.
With the exploding tires of George Russell, Nicholas Latifi and especially those of major competitor Valtteri Bottas in mind, Red Bull chose the safe option: a second pit stop. In conversation with RacingNews365 the Mexican explains his race.
“We played it safe with the exploding tires. We thought long term. When we looked at the other tires we were a bit concerned about that. We lost some points today, but we minimized the loss.”
“The problem was that we were right in the middle of a one or two stop. We ended up in traffic all the time. The first laps on the hard tires were not easy in terms of overtaking. We lost a lot of time there.”
“In the end we got in front of Alonso and moved to the one-stop, but later we changed our minds again. I think it was all about making it to the end.”
Red Bull mainly looked at Bottas
Mercedes, Red Bull’s major competitor, saw Bottas drop out due to a flat tire. When that happened, Red Bull wanted the same thing to happen to Perez. Because the Finn was no longer participating, Checo was therefore able to make a second pit stop.
“What happened at Valtteri was also in our heads,” explains the two-time race winner. “All in all, fourth place is better than nothing. I would rather not have risked it, because there is too much at stake. I am a team player. As a driver you prefer to be on the podium, but the championship is more important.”
“I did everything I could. I gave 100%, it was an intense race,” he continues. “We didn’t maximize, but it was a good performance. If you start from P11, a lot can happen. To take so many points is nice.”
A lot went wrong during qualifying on Saturday, so that on Sunday Perez actually had no chance in the battle for victory and was unable to really interfere from the front. He admits that was inconvenient.
“We have to analyze what we did on Saturday, because that’s where we went in the wrong direction. To finish fourth is better than nothing. If there’s anyone I’d like to give a podium to, it’s Fernando. He has did a fantastic job and deserves to be there.”