Helmut Marko pounces on Sergio Perez’s ‘mistake’ in Fernando Alonso fight

Michelle Foster
Red Bull driver Sergio Perez racing against Fernando Alonso.

Sergio Perez racing Fernando Alonso at the Brazilian GP.

Beaten by Fernando Alonso on the last lap of the Brazilian Grand Prix, Helmut Marko says Sergio Perez paid the price for a “mistake” out of Turn 3 that allowed the Aston Martin to close in.

Perez and Alonso had a thrilling battle throughout the final stint at the Interlagos circuit as the two fought for the final place on the podium, an achievement neither had managed in the last five or more races.

For Perez, the battle ended with his sixth Grand Prix off the podium while Alonso broke his six-race podium duck on the very last lap of the Grand Prix.

Sergio Perez paid the price for two small mistakes in Brazil

Although Perez steamed past him on lap 70 of the 71-lap race, a mistake out of Turn 3 allowed Alonso to stick to the rear wing of the RB19 while a second error from Perez, this time braking too late into Turn 1 on the final lap, meant Alonso was able to get back ahead at Turn 4.

He held his nerve to take third place by 0.053s ahead of Perez.

Marko feels the Mexican driver’s mistakes cost him in that fight.

“In hindsight, you’re smarter,” he told Sky Deutschland when asked if Perez could’ve done things differently.

“The mistake was that he didn’t come out of Turn 3 properly, then he just made a small move on the start-finish straight on the way to Turn 1.”

Overall, though, the 80-year-old was pleased with Perez’s performance as he extended his advantage over Lewis Hamilton in the fight to finish P2 in the standings to 34 points.

“Since Austin, the pace has been right in both qualifying and the race,” said Marko. “We now have a commanding lead over Hamilton of almost 30 points. That should now work out for second place.”

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Alonso and Perez share their thoughts on their tussle

Alonso revealed he thought his chances of beating Perez to the podium were lost when the 33-year-old overtook him on the penultimate lap.

However, it was Perez’s mistake at Turn 1 that re-ignited his confidence and his quest to finish on the podium.

“For me,” he said, “it was like 30 laps that I had the pressure from Checo but when he passed me two laps to the end, I thought, ‘Okay, this is gone, the podium is not possible anymore’.

“But he braked a bit late into [Turn] 1 and I said, ‘Okay, I go for it into [Turn] 4.'”

“This is a phenomenal result for the team.”

As for Perez, he called the battle “pretty intense.

“We tried and gave everything. Unfortunately, it wasn’t successful. It was the same for Fernando. We had a great duel and it was fair up to the limit.

“That’s something younger drivers can learn from. The way we fought. That’s how it should be done. I was on the worse side and lost in the end. It was a great fight though.”

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