Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, has revealed that debris got caught in Sergio Perez’s brake duct at the Italian Grand Prix.
The Mexican went into the weekend with a 10-place grid penalty for taking too many engine parts, and he started 13thhaving initially qualified fourth, lifted up one place by the back of the grid penalty for Carlos Sainz.
Perez had started to make some progress at the start of the race, but he had locked up on the opening lap, so he had to box early.
When he did, smoke could be seen emanating from the front right corner as the mechanics put on the fresh set of tyres.
There were still signs of overheating when he exited the pits and headed back out onto the circuit, but the debris soon burned off, and everything normalised.
“Checo, on the first lap, he had a big lock-up and then he had a massive vibration as a result,” said Horner, quoted by GPFans.
“We were starting to get into the danger zones in our threshold, so that is why we pitted him onto the hard.
“It looked like some debris got into the duct which is why that front right was smoking so much.
“Obviously, it took some time to burn that off over the next couple of laps and then the temperatures came back under control.”
The initial fire was costing the 32-year-old pace, but he eventually got back into the groove, and he had made it up to sixth going into the closing stages.
Perez was hunting down Hamilton for fifth, and a late Safety Car was deployed when Daniel Ricciardo pulled over in his broken-down McLaren.
Race control did not have enough time to clear everything up and get going again though, so the grand prix ended under yellows as Max Verstappen took his 11th win of the season.
Without the late complications under yellow flags, Horner reckons his driver might have been able to snatch two more points.
“He was able to push on and his pace was great, I think he would have caught Lewis in those remaining laps,” he added.
Red Bull now lead Ferrari by 139 points in the Constructors’ Standings, while Verstappen is set to wrap up the drivers’ crown in the next couple of races in Singapore and Japan.