Sergio Perez felt it was a bit unnecessary with the move from Lando Norris when they touched in F1 Dutch GP, but the latter felt fine.
The Saturday qualifying for Red Bull’s Perez was extremely anti-climactic with him failing to get out of Q1. Starting from P16, the team decided to fit in a new engine, thereby taking a penalty for the fourth engine and start from the pitlane.
The race itself was slow at the start for Perez, and the pitlane start did not help with the track being hard to overtake on. This was proven on Lap 9 when Perez tried attacking Haas’ Nikita Mazepin, but ended up pitting for medium compounds and falling back to P19 instead after a massive lock-up, destroying his hard tyres.
This did not determine the rest of his race though, as the Red Bull driver picked up the pace by the last 20 laps. Passing Mclaren’s Daniel Ricciardo on Lap 56, then Lando Norris on Lap 66, and finally Alpine’s Esteban Ocon on Lap 71. Perez finished P8. He was also close to clear Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz for seventh.
However, not all the overtakes went smoothly. While attacking, and ultimately overtaking Norris at Turn 1, Perez was squeezed and the pair made contact, with the Mexican’s right side of the car damaged and his flooring broken. With only seven laps to go and clear pace with the car, the Mexican thought that the move by Norris unnecessary and ultimately hurt his chances of possibly overtaking Sainz and maybe Fernando Alonso for P6 at the end.
“We managed to minimise the damage, let’s say let’s put it that way,” said Perez to TV media. “We have a new engine, we’ve taken that penalty, let’s say and from now on it’s just looking forwards, it’s just looking ahead, try to come back strong into Monza. It was a bit of a shame there at the end because I think P6 was possible, when I passed Lando I had a lot of damage on the right hand side of the car so when we touch.
“I felt it was quite unnecessary, I was there. I didn’t have enough space and we touch and I damaged quite badly the right hand side of the car and yeah since then on I lost a lot of grip basically,” summed up Perez. Norris, however, had an opposing perspective on the incident – their second of the 2021 season after Austria.
Norris stated that though he raced him hard, he was fair, gave him enough space, and did not force him off the track. “I can’t look in my mirror the whole way around the corner, so a bit of it has to be done on judgement and expectation of him respecting, him knowing I’m not going to make his life easy, me knowing he’s going to try and go around the outside,” said Norris to set of written media. “I think I left him enough space for the move.
“I need to look from an onboard and stuff. But of course I’m going to come on throttle and try and squeeze him and not make his life easy. But it’s only that, I’m not going to try and make contact or try and force him off or anything. The last time I di, I got a penalty. I’m not stupid, I’m not silly, but I’m not going to let him past either,” summed up Norris.
The Brit further explained that he wasn’t going to make life easy for anyone overtaking him, Perez or otherwise, and in this race’s context, he wanted the points just as much as the Red Bull driver. “I think it was just, I’m not gonna make his life easy,” he said. “I think we can just be happy with racing him, he’s in a Red Bull, he’s in the quickest car on the track, but I think any driver no matter who it was, if it were just purely racing against Max or Lewis or whoever on track you’re gonna treat them all the same.
“And I m not going to make his life easy because I want those points just as much as he does. So yeah I tried, I squeezed him a little bit, but I didn’t force him all the way off the track or anything like that so we both fought each other hard. He cut down quite a bit into Turn 1, and I just didn’t want to give him a lot of room. I gave him enough just not all the world so yeah he still managed to get past, none of us crashed and i think he still went on to overtake another one so yeah nothing to say for me,” stated Norris.
The story was written by Selena Aburas
Here’s Sergio Perez and Lando Norris making contact: https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/video.2021-dutch-grand-prix-perez-makes-heavy-contact-with-norris.1710083307304041007.html
Here’s how F1 Dutch GP panned out