Checo Pérez made his debut at Red Bull headquarters and showed the expertise gained in more than a decade in Formula 1. Although it was not enough. At Spielberg (Austria), the only Latin American driver this season finished fourth and was less than a second from passing Valtteri Bottas. The Mercedes suffered before the advance of the Mexican who lacked laps to get back on the podium. His partner, Max Verstappen, won the race ahead of Lewis Hamilton.
The Mexican had a good qualifying round in which he gained pace. In Q2 he had even finished first, but in the moment of truth he finished fifth. Valtteri Bottas’ penalty for skidding in the ptis allowed him to move up one more place. Max Versappen, Red Bull’s main driver, started from the top position.
Checo Pérez attacked Norris directly on the first lap. At turn three he had passed him, but the McLaren man was able to pass him and regain that third place. “I need more power, he’s very fast on the straights,” Pérez told the team. While the Mexican battled with the British behind, a Bottas came with a good rhythm.
Follow the season of Checo Pérez
On lap 10, Checo Pérez took advantage of a moment of disorientation from Norris to win him third position. Bottas also passed in front of the British. And then came the suspense. The one born in Jalisco suffered because Bottas cut seconds away from him. The Red Bull had to go out to the pits to change the tires on lap 27. And this time, those who were considered the fastest mechanics on the circuit, cost him a key four seconds. Bottas and his Mercedes galloped off to win that third place.
At the top Verstappen began to work to stay ahead. The calm came with the experience of the Mexican. Pérez managed his hard tires well to keep up with Bottas, who began to wear his wheels, especially the right rear.
The Mexican, in the last 25 laps, cut the distance to Bottas with the power of the red buffalo car. It was until lap 55 when they asked the Mexican to enter, again, the pits. It was the bet to snatch third place from Bottas. The Red Bull came out turbocharged. The gap was closing, but the traffic on the track prevented the Mexican from being able to catch up with Mercedes. Bottas, heart in hand, finished third. Pérez, less than a second from passing him, was left to nothing. “It was a pity what happened in the pitsBut Sergio put up a fantastic fight, ”Red Bull boss Christian Horner told F1 TV. “I’m grateful that I was able to defend myself from Pérez,” launched Bottas.
Red Bull maintains dominance in the constructors ‘and drivers’ championships: Verstappen at the top (156 points), Hamilton (138) and Checo Pérez in third place (96). The Mexican adds a victory, in Baku, and a third place in the French GP. The energy drink team will have another home exhibit the following week. Pérez wants revenge against Bottas.
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