After the empty stages in Melbourne and Monte Carlo, Sergio Perez has had the third weekend without a podium in this start of the season, also in this case complicated by a far from brilliant qualifying. After going out in Q2, it was expected that the Mexican could still enter the fight for the podium, climbing up to that second place which was in the hands of Carlos Sainz at the start of the race.
However, with a Mercedes that showed good pace and knew how to play skillfully with strategy, Sergio was unable to go beyond the fourth place finish, which was also affected by a shrewd start in which the Red Bull driver didn’t take very great risks. Not surprisingly, if it hadn’t been for the contact between Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton in the first corners, the Mexican would have finished the first lap in twelfth place, one position further back than the one from which he had started.
An element that Perez himself remarked upon at the end of a race in which he believes he managed to limit the damage: “Today I tried to limit the damage. It was difficult to follow other cars, especially when we had similar tires and it cost me a lot. We had to take more risks in the first lap like George [Russell] for example. We minimized the damage”, explained the rider from Guadalajara, citing Russell as an example, given that the Briton was able to recover five positions at the end of the first lap.
Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C43, battles Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
“We were very patient, especially in the first lap, not taking unnecessary risks was important for us. From then on we just tried to be patient and work our way up, the race went on, but unfortunately we finished behind George.”
The Mercedes strategy was also fundamental in calling George Russell to the pits for a second time at the ideal moment. A move that was intended to force Red Bull to recall Perez, so that the Mexican could not implement the one-stop strategy. Realistically Hamilton would still have kept second place, but that helped cement the Star’s double podium finish.
Net of a weekend that once again didn’t bring great satisfaction, the morale of the Milton Keynes team standard bearer remains high in view of the next round: “I think we weren’t there this weekend in terms of performance, we hope to resolve and come back fit in Canada. Morale is still high, I’ve had a good season so far, I have good pace. But we are in such a narrow window that we have to be perfect”
The next stop will be the semi-city circuit of Montréal, a track where the Mexican has never really shone, except for a few sporadic episodes. Last year the race ended with a zero due to a mechanical problem following the error in qualifying. Perez is however confident, also because he believes that the RB19 can confirm its speed in Canada as well: “I think it will be a good track for us, but we are close at the moment, it will be an interesting weekend”.
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