Sergio Perez lost the lead of the Dutch Grand Prix to Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen through an undercut change back to the slick tyres.
The Mexican driver stormed into the lead of the race at Zandvoort, following a canny call to swap to the intermediate tyres at the end of the first lap – the resulting time gain putting him into a controlling lead a few minutes later as others pitted at the end of the second lap.
With almost 10 seconds in hand over Max Verstappen, the Dutch driver quickly halved the gap, but didn’t have to overtake on track as he dived into the pits to swap back to slick tyres a lap before Perez to come out back in front once he pitted.
Sergio Perez not annoyed by Max Verstappen undercut
With Perez getting on the radio to enquire of his race engineer how Verstappen had ended up back in front, he downplayed the significance of the moment as he spoke to the media, including PlanetF1.com, in the aftermath of the Grand Prix.
“I think that, on those scenarios, the team just has more information than we do at the time,” he said.
“So it’s something we obviously will review during the [post-race] meeting, and I’m sure there’s a reason behind it.”
With Verstappen slicing into his lead during that phase on the intermediate tyres, Perez revealed he had been taking it easy as the team believed more rain was on the way, and he wanted to conserve his tyres.
“We were expecting rain, the team was telling me that there was more rain coming, so it was very important… because the track was on the dry side, if I were to push, I would just have destroyed the inter tyre,” he said.
Revealing it had been his call to pit at the end of the first lap, Perez praised Red Bull for being “super-quick” to respond to his request for intermediates, and said: ” Unfortunately, we didn’t get it right that there was more rain coming on the inter. Otherwise, we could have pushed more on the first stint and probably kept the lead for longer.”
Sergio Perez moves from second to fourth due to late mistakes
Having lost out on a podium as a late-race rain shower resulted in Perez making an error on the intermediate tyre and sliding off the track at Turn 1 to end up behind Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, as well as having to deal with a red flag stoppage, Perez said he was disappointed to have missed out as he came home in fourth.
“It was chaos, just changing a lot and, unfortunately, our great call at the beginning turned out not so great in the end,” he said.
“It’s a shame that we ended up losing the podium because I feel like we really deserved it today.”
While Perez crossed the line in third place on the road, the Mexican driver was given a five-second time penalty late on, having made an error entering the pits following his slide off. Coming in to take on the full wet tyre, just a few seconds before the red flag was shown, Perez slid into the pit wall and bounced off the concrete – fortunate to survive having taken no damage.
“As I was coming into the pits, it was completely flooded at the time,” he said.
“When I braked, I just went straight into the wall.”
Caught speeding having gone 0.8km/h over the limit as a result of the incident, Perez didn’t feel he had deserved any leniency as the stewards imposed the penalty.
“The rule is the rule,” he said.
“I think that’s the best way you can really protect everyone.