Sergio Perez calls for review after ‘different information’ given to Max Verstappen

Thomas Maher
Red Bull's Sergio Perez at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Jeddah, March 2023.

Red Bull's Sergio Perez at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Jeddah, March 2023.

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez wants a review into the communications given to himself and Max Verstappen in the closing stages of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Perez won the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix by just over five seconds from Red Bull teammate Verstappen, after the pair spent the second half of the race trading fastest times as they pulled away from the rest of the field.

Perez had led Verstappen by just over five seconds when the Dutch driver wrestled second place from Fernando Alonso after recovering from a 15th place grid slot following a driveshaft failure in qualifying, with that gap barely changing despite the frantic pace set by the Red Bull duo.

During the closing stages, Perez was told to maintain his pace as he radioed in to report a long brake pedal, at around the same time Verstappen was reporting feeling vibrations from his driveshaft.

Sergio Perez: Different information for Max and myself

Perez had questioned the radio instruction to maintain his laptime, wondering if the same instruction had been given to his pursuing teammate. Verstappen then asked about the fastest lap, only to be told that the team were “not worried about that”. Verstappen promptly replied, “but I am”, and took the fastest lap point away from Perez on the very last lap.

This seemed to have annoyed Perez, who explained afterward that he felt different information had been given to himself and Verstappen – the fastest lap point being the only differentiator between the two Red Bull drivers after the first two races of the championship.

“I asked two laps from the end when they told me to keep a certain pace,” Perez told the media in Saudi Arabia.

“They told me I had the fastest lap and to keep the pace at a certain pace. I thought the communication was the same to Max, I think we need to review the different information and I just couldn’t push then in the end.” recommends

Lewis Hamilton: George Russell chose ‘wrong’ set-up but still went in his favour
Fernando Alonso bemoans ‘poor show from the FIA’ after podium demotion
Toto Wolff: Red Bull ‘can put a little sticker’ on updated Mercedes if they want

Asked whether he was happy with the call from the team to allow them to continue racing for the win right up until the chequered flag, Perez said he felt there had been some unnecessary risk taken given the failure on the RB19 on Saturday.

“Obviously, they have more information than us and I think the team did a fantastic job of letting us race,” he said.

“I just felt like there was a point where, for the last 10 laps or so, we had very similar pace – within a tenth faster or slower. I just felt like the gap, it would have been probably a little bit less or a little more, but it wouldn’t have changed anything.

“I was just thinking about the car and just making sure… I was having some strange vibrations and obviously, what happened to Max was on the back of my mind today and I’m sure it was on the back of the mind of the team as well. So it was just a matter of making sure both cars finished to maximise maximum points.”

Max Verstappen: It’s normal to ask about fastest lap

Verstappen, having taken the fastest lap point, said it was a standard question to ask, given that an extra point up for grabs.

“With a few laps to go, I asked what the fastest lap was,” he explained.

“First of all, we were free to race and of course, we had a target lap time to the end. But there’s a point on the line. It was the same also in Bahrain, it got asked, especially when it’s just between the two cars, I think it’s quite normal that you ask what the fastest lap is.”