Fresh doubts over Sergio Perez after ‘embarrassing’ Fernando Alonso defeat

Thomas Maher
Fernando Alonso won out in a thrilling battle with Sergio Perez during the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso won out in a thrilling battle with Sergio Perez during the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Sergio Perez was beaten across the line in Brazil by a resolute Fernando Alonso after a thrilling battle at Interlagos.

While Perez had his strongest race since the Italian Grand Prix after a terrrible run of form, the Mexican driver wasn’t quite able to make it to the podium in Brazil after a stout defence from Fernando Alonso just kept the Spaniard in front crossing the finish line.

Perez had a strong first half of the race as he picked off the Mercedes drivers to catch up on Alonso, putting himself in a strong position as he got within DRS range with 15 laps to go. But, aside from a late overtake that Alonso immediately responded to, Perez was beaten by the Aston Martin driver as the pair crossed the line 0.053 seconds apart.

Peter Windsor: Sergio Perez should have beaten Fernando Alonso

Worse for Perez was the fact that, with just a lap to go, he had been ahead of the Aston Martin driver after successfully finding a way past – only for a small error under braking allowed Alonso to latch back on and repass him.

It was this error that prompted former F1 team manager Peter Windsor to say that it perhaps indicates it is time for Red Bull to look at someone else alongside Max Verstappen as his teammate.

The former journalist took to his own YouTube channel after the race to chat about various goings-on during the Grand Prix, in which he was full of praise for Alonso and decried Perez’s efforts.

“The big race was really between Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez – Fernando Alonso an excellent third for most of the race, give or take the pitstops or two,” he said.

” A quick car, not as quick as a McLaren, but definitely quicker than a Mercedes – much quicker in a straight line and at least as much, if not more, grip around the corners.

“Fernando Alonso driving absolutely brilliantly, I thought. We often talk about how good Fernando is and what a great racer he is.

“He’s not a short corner, early turn-in driver – he is a V driver more than anything else, not to the extent of Sebastian Vettel, but that’s how he really wants to drive when he’s got a great front end and rear end.

“The car was pretty well balanced today. He was taking it to Sergio Perez for many, many laps as Perez blew past both Mercedes in a straight line. Perez caught him and just couldn’t get past.

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“I’ve been very defensive of Sergio’s position at Red Bull. I’ve been trying to explain the difference between him and Max Verstappen in style.

“But I haven’t been critical of Red Bull’s choice of Perez as a number two to Max, because I think he’s the right sort of driver to have in that car if you’ve got Max Verstappen, as I’ve said a million times.

“But this is the first time really I’ve thought maybe Red Bull should be thinking about somebody else, because he should have beaten Alonso in the Aston Martin. He did beat him for one lap, two laps to go from the end of the race.

“He actually used the DRS correctly and got past Fernando, but then he braked too late into Turn 1 and Fernando got a run on him going down the hill, which is another DRS area, and repassed him – talk about embarrassing and a great move by Fernando, a hero of the crowd.

“Without DRS, I don’t think he would have got Perez down that back straight and retaken third place but he did and he did it beautifully and it was a very very good result.”

Perez’s fourth place nonetheless helped him open up his championship lead over Lewis Hamilton to 30 points with two races to go, as the Mercedes driver could only manage eighth place on what was a terrible day for the Brackley squad.

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