Sergio Perez was left heartbroken after his F1 Abu Dhabi GP DNF as Alexander Albon says he had more juice left in his tyres.
Having taken new parts for the F1 Abu Dhabi GP, Racing Point’s Perez was forced to start from the back of the grid as he hoped for a charge through the field in the Top 10. He had a steady start, as well, and started to pick on drivers but it didn’t last for long.
Another Bahrain GP like failure, especially with the MGU-K, left Perez disappointed as it ended his race early. After the high of Sakhir GP win, it was a huge low in Abu Dhabi, which left him and his crew crying in their last F1 grand prix together.
He was seen consoling the team as they eventually lost third in the constructors’ championship to McLaren. For Perez, though, he secured his best finish in the drivers’ championship in fourth as he now waits to find out his future drive.
“It was looking good and I was making a lot of progress and all of a sudden I start losing engine power and that is what happened,” said Perez to TV media. “It looks like we had the MGU-K issue again. We lost third, it was really down to us, and the reliability hit us hard, we lost obviously with the issue that took 15 points away from us.
“But it always shows that having two strong drivers scoring the points for the team, and what a difference it makes coming into the end of the year, so from my side I am extremely happy with the season I had. Missing two races, the reliability issues that we had and we still managed to finish P4 in the championship so I am pretty pleased with that.
“Overall, it is a bit sad to end this way, leaving the team this way but I have told my boys – some of them were crying at the end – that you have to remember what happened last weekend and what happened over the entire season,” summed up Perez, as for the future he left it open still, considering Red Bull is yet to announce its line-up for 2020.
What looked like something else, it may have turned around, especially with murmurs from Abu Dhabi, where Sky Sports’ Ted Kravitz, noted about an announcement on Monday (December 14) or in the coming week about hiring Perez in the team.
However, he added that, Perez might end up sharing his drive – which sounded a bit confusing – especially with Albon staying as the test and reserve driver. It seemed like Kravitz was hinting towards the usual Red Bull game, where if one doesn’t perform, he could be replaced anytime in the season.
From Albon side, the Thai racer finished fourth in Abu Dhabi, where he showed the kind of drive he is expected to throughout the 2020 F1 season. He stayed with the leading group and almost had Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in the end for third. He felt he had more juice left in his tyres to eventually make the move in couple of laps.
“When everyone went at the start I thought ‘Oh ok. Either they’re not saving their tyres or I’m too slow,’ but eventually their tyres dropped off and it was my turn to go through,” said Albon to TV media. “There were quite a lot of back markers in the race and I lost a lot of time overtaking cars.
“It’s a shame because I think we could have done a really pushed Hamilton for third but P4 is still good. I’ve felt very good with the car this weekend and it’s probably been my best in F1. There was obviously a lot of pressure coming into this race and my only goal was to focus on my performance and do the best job possible.
“So I’m proud of how I’ve delivered under the circumstances. It feels great to prove to everyone that I’m strong enough mentally to deal with all the external talk and keep improving. As a Team we haven’t given up, I’ve had a lot of support from everyone back at the factory and we’ve worked hard with the engineers to make me more comfortable in the car,” summed up Albon.
His performance was certainly regarded well by team principal Christian Horner, as he added that they now have a good set of data to analyse and take a decision regarding the future, which they hope to sort out before Christmas – something which Dr. Helmut Marko also concurred in his post-race media discussions.
“Alex has done a very good job,” said Horner. “It’s probably been his strongest collective weekend of the season, and he’s driven a good race. He was putting Lewis under pressure at the end of the race there, and that now gives us a complete set of information now to go away and analyse it, and work out what we’re going to do.
“It is certainly what we were expecting to see. Because the only way that you can put Mercedes under pressure is if for example they had split their strategy we could have been very exposed. And certainly at the end of the race Alex was able to close on them. He obviously lost a bit of ground at the beginning of the stint after the safety car, once he was changed on to the same strategy to the end of the race. But I think Alex has driven a good race, and he’s had a solid weekend,” summed up Horner.
Here’s the whole Sky Sports show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuAKQNb1zw0
Here’s what Max Verstappen and Mercedes duo said regarding Abu Dhabi GP