Sergio Perez reflects on his wheel-to-wheel battle with Lewis Hamilton in F1 Turkish GP as made a return to the podium in a Red 2-3.
The last time Red Bull’s Perez made it on the podium was in Paul Ricard and since then, it has been a pretty mixed run for the Mexican, often finding himself in the wrong spot, especially due to bad qualifying when compared to his teammate.
Even in F1 Turkish GP, Perez was seventh on the grid, but made a good start to be right on the edge of the podium places. He had to play a crucial role in not allowing Mercedes’ Hamilton pass and he almost failed at it when the Brit got him.
Perez was kinda pushed wide on the other side of the pit entry bollard, but he had the momentum to come back on Hamilton and retake the place before pitting. It was a feisty fight between the two, the one which Red Bull hopes to see from the Mexican.
Perez actually thought Hamilton caught up with him on the wrong time, when he started to struggle with his tyres. But nevertheless, he had enough still to press on. “It was pretty intense at that point because Lewis really got me at the worst time of my race because I was struggling so much with my tyres at that point,” he said.
“That first stint was so difficult for me, especially towards the end and Lewis was pretty fast. I think at the time he was the fastest car on track, so to hold him back at that point was pretty challenging. We had a good fight. Had to even avoid the pit bollard on pit entry, but it was a good fight overall, and managed to stay ahead.
“I think we were all very nervous today about boxing for new tyres, because of what happened last year. I think it was the right call when we boxed, because I had the time to really introduce my tyres and learn what went wrong on my first stint to try to apply it for my second stint, which really made my race, you know? I think we took a good advantage on that second stint,” summed up Perez, who pitted at a good time and managed to pass Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc on track to end up on the podium.
“Honestly, the last few races have been so unlucky,” said Perez. “In Monza I finished on the podium but I had the penalty; Russia, three laps to go I was on the podium. It’s been like coming already for many races but certainly it’s nice, especially like Turkey where I felt so uncomfortable with the car and we didn’t have quite the pace to match the Mercs, and I feel like we maximised our result today and I’m sure if we are able to do that for the next six races, we can still win the Championship.”
As Perez noted, it has been a tough run for the Mexican with his seat under-fire, especially against AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, who continues to impress. But he hopes that the Turkish GP result helps him ahead and swings the luck and performance on his side.
“The whole Turkish weekend has been a lot more competitive,” said Perez. “In qualifying we didn’t get to show that because we were very aggressive with our strategy, so that put us on the backfoot with the Soft tyres into qualifying. I think we just miss that couple of tenths that we had in hand, because we’ve shown good pace throughout the weekend and I’m sure we could have had a much better qualifying. So yeah, certainly I can see that understanding I am getting more together with the car.”
Perez received good praise from the boss too, as FIA Race Director Michael Masi played the need of any investigation into his and Hamilton’s run-in. Even though the Mexican once complained of being pushed wide, there was no formal complaint from either teams.
“I had a look at it, absolutely,” said Masi to written media. “But as our regulations state in the notes you only have to keep to the left of the bollard if you’re committed to entering pit lane. So nothing in it. It was good, hard racing between the two of them. Neither team funnily enough raised the question, neither Mercedes nor Red Bull.
“Good hard fight, play on. Also, Perez’s team did not relay a word. We don’t listen to every driver’s radio. And generally the teams are very good that if there’s an issue that they want reviewed, as you’re all well aware, the radio panel lights up very quickly!”
Here’s Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton fighting: https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/video.2021-turkish-grand-prix-hamilton-and-perez-race-wheel-to-wheel.1713237993813064643.html
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