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

Sergio Perez finished second behind team-mate Max Verstappen having been in the lead of the Spanish Grand Prix.

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez insists that he might have been on the top step of the podium in Spain had he been put on a three-stop strategy, but maintains that he is still pleased with the one-two result.

Perez had ended up ahead of team-mate Max Verstappen after a gust of wind took the rear of the Red Bull and put him into the gravel, but he was swiftly allowed back ahead of the Mexican to chase down George Russell.

The issue for the reigning champion was that he could not use DRS because of an issue, and he eventually went onto another set of soft tyres while Russell and Perez boxed for Mediums.

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It meant that the 24-year-old had much fresher Mediums towards the end of the race after completing a mammoth stint on the Softs, and his pace was such that he was able to clear Russell when he made his stop.

This left him chasing down the 32-year-old towards the end of the race, and Perez was told to let him by if he got close enough.

He told the team that the order was “very unfair,” but he duly complied with the instruction, and noted after the race that the three-stop was ultimately the way to go.

“I think what was clear was that 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,” he said.

“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 was going to be the best one.

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“When I was on the two-stop I felt that 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.”

However, having set the fastest lap, the 18-time podium finisher is delighted to walk away from Spain with 44 points and the Constructors’ Championship lead in the bag, and he will “discuss” the race strategy with his team when emotions have settled.

“It still is a great team result, the season is still very young, and I think the momentum in the team is great,” explained Perez. 

“So we just have to discuss a few things internally. There’s nothing that I’m concerned of.

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

Red Bull’s one-two on Sunday was their 19th in Formula 1, and the first time they have achieved maximum points twice in a single season since 2013.