Perez has every right to feel hard done by Red Bull team orders

Sergio Perez was ordered to give up the lead of the Spanish Grand Prix to team-mate Max Verstappen on Sunday.

Former Formula 1 driver Martin Brundle has said that he understood Red Bull’s decision to swap their drivers during the Spanish Grand Prix, but also says that Sergio Perez has every right to feel hard done by.

Max Verstappen was running second ahead of fourth-placed Perez in Spain before a gust of wind caught the rear of his car, sending into the gravel at Turn Four and putting him down to fourth.

Perez was asked to allow Verstappen by so that he could have a go at passing Russell for P2, but his DRS persistently proved an issue as he struggled to clear the Mercedes.

READ: Max Verstappen pleased to win after ‘not nice’ incident

After the reigning champion had pitted for another set of Softs and switched onto the three-stop strategy, Perez managed to get ahead of Russell for what was now the lead after Charles Leclerc’s reliability failure.

Verstappen cleared the Briton when he made his third and final stop of the race and, having chased down on Perez with Mediums that were six laps fresher than the Mexican’s, was allowed to take the lead of the race by the team.

Given the pace disparity between the driver at the time, Brundle reckons it would have made little sense for Red Bull to let their drivers go at it, but this does not stop him sympathising with Perez.

“Perez had pitted his Red Bull on Lap 37 for brand new mediums and Verstappen did the same six laps later, which of course is approaching 10% of the race distance, although I’m not entirely sure that constitutes a ‘different race strategy’ as Perez was informed when told to let him through for the victory,” he wrote in his Sky Sports column.

“Perez said he would but that it wasn’t fair, and he had a good point. It was race six of a 22-race season, the team were going to get a one-two anyway having dispatched Russell and assuming no Safety Car interferences or suchlike.

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“Perez was leading because he had been fast and had stayed on the road, and at that stage it could easily be considered normal to protect the cars and hold station for a Perez victory.

“While it doesn’t play out well for the team or either driver, if I was on the Red Bull pit wall, I’d have done the same and taken the flak.

“The speed of Leclerc in the Ferrari had been impressive, season-long you’d put your money on Verstappen to take the fight to him most consistently, and as we saw with last year’s championship a seven-point swing between first and second could be critical.

“Verstappen’s pace had been prodigious too on the new tyres and while of course I haven’t read either of their contracts, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if both of those documents provide for such a switch. But Max owes him one.”

READ: Perez ‘would have won the race’ on Verstappen’s strategy

Red Bull’s one-two in Barcelona was the first time they have achieved more than one in a single season since 2013, and it lifts them above Ferrari and into the lead of the Constructors’ Standings by 26 points.

Verstappen’s victory now means that he leads the Drivers’ Championship by six points from Leclerc.