Sergio Perez criticised Racing Point’s call to pit him when running P3 at Imola, but the team has defended their strategy.
With Max Verstappen out of the equation due to his third DNF in a row in Italy, Perez thought Racing Point had gifted the final podium spot to Daniel Ricciardo – his second in three races – when deciding to give up track position in order to pit for fresh tyres.
However, Perez could only climb back up to P6 with only a few laps to spare and he was bitterly disappointed with the change in the strategy which denied him a first podium finish since Baku in 2018.
Racing Point, though, are standing by their decision.
“The race was going our way completely,” Racing Point technical director Andrew Green said via Autosport. “Up until the safety car Checo manoeuvred himself, with great pace, up to fourth.
“He overtook the pack by going longer on the medium tyres, he drove really well, the car was really strong, we were very happy with where it was going.
“And the worst possible scenario was a safety car. And that was not really how we were geared up, unfortunately. It was always going to be a difficult decision, that one.
“We were on the hard tyres, the car had been set up, quite specifically, for the long runs, and for the race we were incredibly nervous about having to restart the hard tyres behind the safety car. And I think we would have struggled.
“So the safest thing to do, and we thought that the most logical thing to do, was to swap him for a set of the new softer tyres, so that we didn’t have to worry about that. We thought other people might do the same, but a lot depends on how they were set up for the race.”
What a weekend that was 😯
— BWT Racing Point F1 Team (@RacingPointF1) November 2, 2020
He continued: “And I think it probably just showed where our race pace was, because we’d set the car up to look after the tyres and be kind and not overheat them. So we were always going to struggle behind the safety car in that situation.
“And then we’ve got the other thing with a second incident behind the safety car, we couldn’t have predicted that one.
“So the number of laps remaining to overtake was shortened again, by a considerable margin. So I think that worked against us.
“In hindsight, we would have made a different decision. But I think at the time with the information we had that’s the decision we came to.”