Former Formula 1 driver Alexander Wurz says that Sergio Perez was right to vent after the Spanish Grand Prix about team orders, but adds that the Mexican needs to back himself more during races.
Perez was twice asked to move over to allow team-mate Max Verstappen to pass him after the Dutchman made a mistake at Turn Four.
Perez made a stop after the mistake by the reigning champion having allowed him back through, but caught back up while Verstappen was stuck behind Mercedes’ George Russell.
He was told that he would get his chance later when he asked to be returned the favour, but he never did.
Instead, Verstappen caught up to Perez having made three stops, and the different strategies meant that the 24-year-old was faster than his team-mate, so Perez was asked to step aside again.
The two-time race winner told his team that this was “extremely unfair,” but duly obliged to the request and came home second with the fastest lap to secure a one-two finish for the Austrian outfit.
He said after the race that he wanted to “discuss” the situation internally with his team but Wurz, who scored three podiums with Benetton, McLaren and Williams, believes that the Mexican needs to start being more assertive on track.
“He’s fully right to talk,” he told the F1 Nation Podcast.
“I mean, he is mega team player and to an extent that, at some points, I think he’s actually too easy and accepting some of the orders. You need to be a bit edgy, you need to put your elbows out.
“He proved for the team already when he was fighting for the World Championship in Abu Dhabi for Max. [That was mega].”
However, the Austrian has praised Perez for speaking out against the team orders after the race’s completion and reminding them that his purpose is not purely to help his team-mate.
“But I felt it was right to raise the voice,” added Wurz.
“He executed as the team asked him, but man, he came out with new tyres and then he had to help back, when actually the race was critical for him to use the new tyre for the fast lap times. And at this point, he had to stay back.
“So this is when you get cranky as a driver. And I’ve been in this situation, and it’s not cool, but give him credit he executed [it well].
“But rightly he asks for his rights as well, you know, and it’s good to see at the end of the day.
“Nevertheless, he had to accept the second position here behind Max.”
Perez affirmed that it was suggested to him that he would receive the position back having given it to Verstappen the first time, but concedes that he simply was not on the right 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,” explained the Mexican.
“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.
“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.”
The one-two for Red Bull in Barcelona puts them 26 points ahead of Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship, while Verstappen now leads Leclerc by six points in the drivers’ battle.