Red Bull’s Sergio Perez has said he wants to have internal discussions with his team for clarity, after moving aside for Max Verstappen early in the race.
Perez has admitted to feeling some frustration with how the events of the Spanish Grand Prix played out, after the Red Bull driver felt he could have had a little more help from his team to aid his strategy.
In the early phase of the race, Perez found himself in front of Max Verstappen after the reigning World Champion slid off the track at Turn 4 to fall to fourth place. With the Red Bulls attacking Mercedes’ George Russell for second place, Perez allowed Verstappen to pass him to lead the Red Bull charge.
However, later in the race with Verstappen still cooped up behind Russell, Perez caught back up rapidly after embarking on a two-stop strategy. Clearly enjoying better pace than the pair in front, he called his team to be allowed through to attack Russell, only to be told to hold station.
With Verstappen’s three-stop strategy proving the correct choice, Perez didn’t attempt to fight Verstappen hard in the closing stages as the Dutch driver powered through into the lead, and he later admitted to feeling somewhat irked by how he and Verstappen were treated differently.
Asked whether the victory could have been his on Sunday, with Red Bull scoring a second consecutive 1-2 finish, Perez admitted he “thought so”.
“Especially at the beginning, when I gave the position to Max, thinking I was going to get it back later,” Perez told Sky Sports F1.
“But then, we swapped strategies – he went for the three, I went for the two – it turned out his was the better strategy to be on.”
Very happy to finally be on the Spanish podium.
Thanks to all the fans for so much love; awesome result for the whole team. Now full focus for the Monaco GP.#nevergiveup #spanishgp pic.twitter.com/sR7G7IYKaN
— Sergio Pérez (@SChecoPerez) May 22, 2022
Elaborating later in the post-race FIA press conference, he said: “I think what was clear was that the three-stop was a better race, race time, and the various strategies, so I think if I went in that direction, I would have won the race. And it worked out for Max. I think that was something we discussed.
“It was good, because we didn’t know at the time which strategy was going to be the best one. I only felt that in the first stint when I gave the position to Max, that I was told that I was going to get it back and when I was on the two-stop I felt that I could have gone through Max and George a bit earlier to try and make the strategy work, but probably it wouldn’t have been enough.”
The Mexican said he plans to sit down to have a chat with his team as a result.
“It’s a bit frustrating from my side at the moment but, at the end of the day, it’s a great team result,” he said, on a weekend where he wasn’t given the same weight-saving updates as Verstappen.
“We are now leading the Constructors’ [Championship], so that’s something that I’m very pleased with. There are a few things that we will discuss internally, just to understand what went on because, obviously, when you’re driving, you don’t understand much of the bigger picture.
“I think it’s just a normal thing. I think the team momentum couldn’t be any better. It’s a great team, we’re very united, so we just have to discuss a few things internally and that’s it.”
With Red Bull seemingly implementing soft team orders at the sixth race of the season, Perez said he didn’t feel such orders were yet in place.
“I wouldn’t say team orders,” he said.
“I think what really changed my race was [that] I went for the two [and] Max went for the three. I gave that position in the beginning, because he wanted to attack George, but, as I say, there are a few things that we definitely need to discuss going forwards.”
Red Bull's team orders hands Verstappen the win
Red Bull made the call to Sergio Perez to let his team-mate Max Verstappen through for the race win.