Perez claims Red Bull deceived him with Verstappen team orders

Max Verstappen was waved through past Sergio Perez to take victory at last weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez has revealed that he was told during the Spanish Grand Prix that he would be awarded his position back having let team-mate Max Verstappen through.

The Mexican was initially asked to move over when the reigning champion went off at Turn Four and ended up behind his team-mate and the Mercedes of George Russell.

He might have been able to clear the Briton had it not been for an issue with his DRS, and the pair holding each other up helped Perez to close back up after he had pitted.

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He would then ask Verstappen to move back out of the way so that the 32-year-old could overtake Russell, but the pit wall seemed reluctant to comply.

“Get me Max out of the way so I can overtake quickly,” he said over the radio.

“So build the temperature margin for now, brakes are a bit on the warm side,” replied engineer Hugh Bird.

“Let’s wait at two seconds for now, we’re in a different race from them.”

Perez began to grow frustrated, but was again told to stay put.

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“Why don’t you let me by? I have very fresh tyres, I can get by quickly,” he queried.

“Build the margin on tyre temps, build the margin on brakes, we’ll get our chance,” said Bird.

In the end Verstappen pitted and opened the door for the Mexican, who dispatched Russell for what had become the lead of the race due to Charles Leclerc’s retirement.

Perez was on the two-stop while Verstappen, having bolted on Softs at his first stop, went for three, which was ultimately quicker.

The Dutchman was once again allowed to pass his team-mate towards the end of the race, and he went on to take victory, with Perez coming home second to secure a one-two finish.

Perez says he was promised the place back having originally ceded it, but concedes that the three-stop was simply the better strategy.

“Well, on the first stint, when I let Max by, I was told I was going to get it back and we knew we were on different strategies,” he said.

“So when I was back on it, I felt like I could have gone through and probably given a better shot at my strategy, to make it work but at the end of the day it turned out to be the three-stop, the way to go today.”

The 32-year-old affirms that he would have had a shot at victory had he mirrored the 24-year-old’s strategy.

“I think what was clear was the three-stop was a better race, race time, and the various strategies, so I think if I went in that direction I would have won the race,” added Perez.

“And it worked out for Max. I think that was something we discussed. It was good because we didn’t know at the time which strategy would be the best one.

“I only felt in the first stint, when I gave the position to Max, I was told I would get it back and when I was on the two-stop I felt I could have gone through Max and George a bit earlier to try and make the strategy work, but probably it wouldn’t have been enough.”

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Nonetheless, the team picked up the maximum points haul for the 19th time in their history, and the comradery within the camp is still high.

“But it still is a great team result, the season is still very young and I think the momentum in the team is great. So we just have to discuss a few things internally, but there’s nothing I’m concerned of,” added the two-time race winner.

“If anything, I can say the atmosphere in the team, the momentum we are carrying, it is tremendous, like no other team, so I’m pleased with that.”

Red Bull’s result moves them ahead of Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship, while Verstappen now leads Leclerc in the Drivers’ Standings.