Bernie Collins believes Red Bull shoulder some of the blame for Sergio Perez’s ‘shocking statistic’

Michelle Foster
Sergio Perez walks away from his car after finishing P6. Britain July 2023

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez walks away from his car after finishing P6. Britain July 2023

Failing to make it into the pole position shoot-out five races in a row, Bernie Collins believes Red Bull shoulder some of the blame for what she called a “discrepancy” between the team and the driver.

Perez had a nightmare qualifying at the British Grand Prix where the driver finished the Saturday session down in 16th place while his team-mate Max Verstappen claimed his seventh pole position for this season.

On a wet Saturday afternoon at the Silverstone circuit, Perez was the first driver to line up at the end of the pit lane to wait for the session to get the green light following a red flag stoppage for Kevin Magnussen’s stricken Haas.

Sergio Perez hasn’t been in the pole shoot-out since Miami

There Perez sat for nine minutes with his tyres losing heat while, with every passing minute, the track dried that little bit more.

Finally, out on track, Perez crossed the line to complete his flying lap and shot up to the top of the timesheet but, with 18 drivers behind him all doing their laps in improving conditions, he began to fall down the order before finishing in a disappointing 16th place.

Perez’s P16 marked the fifth race weekend in a row in which the driver didn’t feature in the pole position shoot-out with his last top-10 showing being his pole position at the Miami Grand Prix.

Former Aston Martin strategy chief Collins believes Red Bull shoulder part of the blame for the driver’s Silverstone exit as, given that everyone on the team was aware of his current qualifying struggles, they should’ve done more to give him the “best possible chance” of progressing.

“100 percent,” she told Sky F1. “There’s too much to do in the race starting from not getting out of Q1, that’s guaranteed.

“It’s easy for us outside to say that Checo has not made it out of Q1 for five weeks in a row or whatever it is. It’s easy to look at that and say ‘Why is that happening, is he not performing as a driver?’

“This week, from what I could see, there’s a discrepancy between the strategy team and the driver.

“In those conditions, improving conditions, to be the first person to finish a lap, I think when he first crossed the line he showed up P1 or P2 with the lap that he did. And then the lap times were tumbling, tumbling really quite dramatically, which is what always happens in those types of conditions.

“So if you have a driver that has struggled to get out of Q1, disregarding the fact that the car is by far the fastest car on track so it should be easy to get out of Q1, you’ve got to give them the best possible chance of doing that. And that, fundamentally, is being the last car on track in those conditions.

“I think he queued at the end of the pit lane for a long time as well. So there are a few things that go together that say he should, partially through his driving because the car is the fastest car that’s out there, but partially through the position on track, it should be much easier to progress through Q1.

“So yes, he is leaving himself a lot of work to do. I think historically Checo has not been the best qualifier, he has been more suited to race, making the tyres work, and managing whatever strategy is done. So there’s a combination of things that need to come now. There have been races, Monaco was clearly the shunt not getting through, but there have been races since that haven’t been so clear-cut. recommends

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“And all of that needs to come together. We don’t know where the communication has broken down there, we don’t know what was going on in Silverstone Q1. But you need to be, with the fastest car, as a team you need to be progressing through Q1 every week. Teams sometimes get wrapped up in saving sets for Q3 but your first priority is to go through Q1.”

Collins highlighted the importance of Perez and Red Bull turning around his qualifying fortunes at the next race at the Hungaroring where overtaking is not that simple.

“In Hungary is much, much more difficult to overtake so you need to go through Q1 and that needs to be the priority in qualify and worry about the Q3 position at another point because it’s a shocking statistic to have not gone through Q1 so much in what is clearly the fastest car on track,” she concluded.

Recovering to finish sixth while Verstappen won the race, his eighth of this season, Perez now trails his team-mate by 99 points in the Drivers’ Championship.

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