Red Bull seal title despite Sergio Perez ‘shocker’ – F1 news round-up

Jamie Woodhouse
Red Bull driver Sergio Perez faces questions from the media at the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort.

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez faces questions from the media.

Red Bull have retained the Constructors’ Championship title with their performance at Suzuka, though Max Verstappen was the one to take them over the line.

Verstappen ensured that normal business was resumed as he dominated the Japanese Grand Prix, winning by 19 seconds over McLaren’s Lando Norris, while Sergio Perez, retired from the race twice, had a “shocker” as his team boss Christian Horner put it.

Let us then take you through the key talking points from race day at Suzuka…

Christian Horner hails Red Bull title triumph

Red Bull proved that Singapore was a mere, bizarre blip as Verstappen went on a mission at Suzuka, putting himself back at the front of the pack and leaving them in his dust.

Despite Perez’s no-score, the perfect 26 points for Verstappen was enough to ensure that Red Bull outscored Mercedes, thus confirming themselves as Constructors’ Champions for the sixth time in the team’s history.

“It’s been the most amazing race for us, the most amazing year,” Horner told Sky F1.

“It’s all testimony to these guys and all the men and women back in the factory at Milton Keynes, and to Red Bull, and all our partners – it is the collection of an incredible effort of everybody doing their best to achieve results like we’ve done.

“Of course, you know, Max is just on another level at the moment. So today was an incredible performance.”

Read more: Max Verstappen and Christian Horner hail sensational year as Red Bull secure Constructors’ title

But Sergio Perez has work to do

It really was a disaster of a Japanese Grand Prix for Perez. Contact at the start with Lewis Hamilton, which left him requiring a new front wing, was followed by a Safety Car infringement and wiping out Kevin Magnussen, resulting in a pair of five-second time penalties and four points for his superlicence.

Perez, having been retired from the race, actually was sent back out just so Red Bull could serve that second penalty to avoid it being carried over to Qatar, before he was withdrawn from the race once more.

Lando Norris was also left “shouting and swearing” as he lost 10 seconds behind the slow-moving Perez during Virtual Safety Car conditions.

“I mean, it was it was a shocker of a race for him today,” Horner told Sky Sports F1 after the race.

Read more: Christian Horner bemoans ‘shocker of a race’ for Sergio Perez at Suzuka

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Mercedes to ‘tidy up’ Lewis Hamilton and George Russell dispute

Both drivers went to battle on multiple occasions during the Japanese Grand Prix, and it was safe to say that neither was giving the other an inch.

Then in the closing stages Russell, trying to execute a one-stop strategy, needed a stern second request from his team to yield position to Hamilton, having suggested that he could pinch Carlos Sainz’s DRS trick and help Hamilton defend, with Hamilton all over Russell’s rear wing and Sainz in-turn harrying Hamilton.

Russell had questioned earlier in the race whether they were “fighting each other or the others”, while Hamilton also showed signs of annoyance in those final stages, so Mercedes will put everything straight again now that the race is complete.

“They were obviously both racing hard in a car that was tricky, pushing to the limit,” Mercedes’ communications chief Bradley Lord told Sky F1. “There was obviously some radio traffic as well that reflected that.

“But I think we’ve got into the habit over the years of not reading too much into what’s said in the heat of the moment and in the pressure of the cockpit, particularly at a hot and demanding race like this one.

“Anything that needs tidying up or discussing afterwards, we’ll be able to do away from that pressure cooker nice and calmly in the debrief.”

Read more: Mercedes aiming to ‘tidy up’ Lewis Hamilton and George Russell radio dispute

Pierre Gasly furious with Alpine team orders

Mercedes are not the only team with some driver tension to diffuse post-race, and it seems like the example over at Alpine is going to take a great deal more work to put right.

Gasly would give the middle finger from his cockpit, unclear to who, as he crossed the line P10 after team-mate Esteban Ocon came through on the last lap. It seemed a communication breakdown had taken place at Alpine.

“Mate, what the f**k? You’re kidding me, are you?” Gasly vented when asked to concede the position to Ocon. “Why are you saying that? I was faster. I’m on fresher rubber. If you would have not passed me (sic), I would have overtaken him anyway.”

Read more: Radio messages reveal Pierre Gasly’s fury with Alpine after Esteban Ocon team order

Anthony Davidson wants to see Lando Norris at Red Bull

The only chance for Norris to lead the Japanese Grand Prix came and went at the start, as a great launch gave him a brief look at Verstappen into Turn 1, though the race leader and ultimate winner quickly shut that door.

From there, Norris went on to secure a solid P2 finish, the fourth time he has claimed that result in F1 2023.

McLaren were the closest challenger yet no match for Red Bull and Verstappen, though if Norris were in the Red Bull, as it is rumoured he could one day be, then former F1 racer Davidson believes Norris would take the fight to Verstappen.

“I’d love to see him in the other car at Red Bull, giving this man [Verstappen] a proper fight, because I think he would,” Davidson told Sky F1.

Read more: ‘Lando Norris in second Red Bull would give Max Verstappen proper fight’

Read next: Why Sergio Perez rejoined the Japanese GP after retiring 20 laps earlier