Sergio Perez: Carlos Sainz ‘more aggressive than expected’ in Zandvoort battle

Henry Valantine
Sergio Perez side-by-side with Carlos Sainz. Zandvoort September 2022.

Carlos Sainz passes Sergio Perez around the outside at Turn 1. Zandvoort September 2022.

Sergio Perez felt Carlos Sainz had defended robustly against him at times in the Dutch Grand Prix, perhaps too much so as they jostled for fifth place on the road.

Perez managed to leapfrog Sainz at the first pit-stops after the Ferrari driver’s tyres were not ready for him, with the Red Bull man running over an out-of-place Ferrari wheel gun as he left his pit box while Sainz was stuck waiting on his jacks.

Sainz had been well behind the top five as a result of his poor stop, but drew back up behind Perez when the Safety Car was deployed after Valtteri Bottas had retired from the race.

The Ferrari driver duly pitted for soft tyres while Perez remained on the medium compound, setting up a tense fight between the two as the race unfolded.

Sainz leapt past Perez around the outside of Turn 1 at the restart and got his elbows out defending from the charging Red Bull behind as the Mexican looked to find a way back past.

It was to no avail though, Sainz finishing ahead on the road, but a five-second penalty for an unsafe release from the pits dropped him to P8.

While Perez picked up the P5 placing vacated by the Ferrari driver, he said he had his eyes on a higher prize.

“In the end [Sainz] was a bit more aggressive than expected and fortunately I didn’t have any damage to the car,” Perez told reporters after the race, quoted by the Spanish edition of Motorsport.com.

“I knew he had the penalty and I wanted to go for [Lewis] Hamilton, who was having problems with his tyres at that moment.”

Sainz admitted after the race anything that could have gone wrong for him did go wrong, but he took advantage of having softer tyres as the race restarted to make his way past Perez.

Perez opted to stay on his medium tyres despite the additional grip offered by the softs, and said that had cost him in the moments after the racing restarted.

“I think in the end I felt better on the mediums, but not for the restart behind the Safety Car,” he said.

“The medium tyre, we saw it with Hamilton, with the different drivers putting it on, it was difficult to warm up with the Safety Car, and that hurt me to hold the position with Carlos.”