Perez admits he “misjudged” fight for position with Norris

2021 Portuguese Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez was pleased with his fourth place finish in the Portuguese Grand Prix but said he is still in the process of getting comfortable at Red Bull.

Despite leading part of the race, Perez slipped back to fourth at the finish, where he also qualified.

He said that he lost the chance to challenge for a podium position in the race’s early stages, beginning with the start, where he was passed by Carlos Sainz Jnr.

“I made it a bit messy here, everything,” Perez told Sky. “It started off the line – being on my side, there wasn’t a lot of grip and I went straight into wheelspin so I lost a position to Carlos.

“Then I recovered the position after the restart, but then I lost it to Lando into turn five.”

He initially didn’t resist Norris’ move as Perez had believed the McLaren driver would be told to switch back for track limit violations, something he spoke to his team about, repeatedly, on the radio. “I looked at my mirrors and I thought Lando was totally off the track limit.

“Therefore, I didn’t fight the position hard enough, thinking that he was going to give me back the place,” he explained. “But I probably misjudged that one.

“It took me a couple of laps to get past Lando and that created a gap to the leader that I was basically off the race by then.”

Perez was later able to catch and pass Norris, and was happier with his car’s handling in his third appearance for the team.

“Now that I’m driving the car in more or less free air throughout the race and seeing the way I have to adapt to this car, the way I have to look after the tyre, that’s all positive.”

However he said he’s “still far away” from feeling completely at home in the car.

“It’s just a process, I guess. And hopefully very soon I can be at home with the race, with the team and very much feel with it.”

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2021 Portuguese Grand Prix

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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14 comments on “Perez admits he “misjudged” fight for position with Norris”

  1. Lando never overtook him while off track, but another matter is whether briefly going wide at T4 gave him a speed advantage into the next corner, helping him to get alongside in the first place.

    1. Yeah thats pretty much it, turn 5? Norris goes wide takes more speed and is able to use that to pass. He gained an advantage going off track, but the pass wasn’t completed off the track so I guess the stewards didn’t care to look at it, as it never popped as being investigated.

      I think Checo is definitely being too cautious at times. I understand not wanting to risk crashing, but he cost himself a shot at a podium getting stuck behind Norris. Had he kept his position he had the same pace as Lewis, Max and Bottas in front when he was in clear air and could have pitted for Hards, which would have been a better race tyre than the Softs which he struggled to get on top of.

      1. *turn 4.. I was looking at a different track layout :)

    2. As per the rules though, Norris lap time must have been invalidated. T4 was being monitored which indicates that advantage was gained. Being able to overtake someone with an invalidated lap time makes sense only in F1.

      It is quite simple to enforce a no-overtaking rule with invalidated lap times, but then the simpler solutions are too complex for F1.

  2. Once he got past Norris his pace before the stops was pretty much the same as Verstappen and the Mercedes, so I’d guess if he hadn’t got held up behind the Mclaren for those few laps he’d have been in podium contention. Already a big improvement over Albon.

    1. @tflb Indeed. Definitely an improvement over Albon.

      1. Lorry driver 1
        2nd May 2021, 22:33

        As if that is good old is Albon? How many races has Albion had? I would switch back to Albon who can improve over the next years. Checo has peaked and won’t win a single race unless everyone else crashes out.. he looked good today because Max failed to qualify in pole.. had Max been on pole and won, 4th would be very poor indeed. They all stopped for softs and looks at the immediate pace of Max and Bottas compared to Checo.. the one thing he has is a massive fan club

        1. Your brilliant suggestion is for Red Bull to give up points by developing a clearly inferior Albo for the future? I didn’t know that Red Bull is a charity.

          P.S. Albon isn’t a spring chicken either, yet you believe that he hasn’t peaked.

        2. Albon is NOT able to drive a top car properly, I don’t see him improving, perez is a known quantity at least.

        3. While that might all be true Lorry driver 1, a team like Red Bull needs a driver the level of at least a Bottas or a Perez to be able to fight for the championships. Albon wasn’t that – the team kept pushing for “another Vettel” – and they did secure Verstappen to drive for them, who is of that level – but just not every driver is right on that pace from the off.

          I agree that Albon is quite a decent driver, certainly talented. And he would probably develop into a good one with experience (like Perez now has), but then, that is likely for Vergne, Buemi, Kvyat, Gasly (already reaping rewards of more experience), etc. That is why Ferrari hardly signs brand new drivers, rather waiting for them to get that experience first.

  3. As I expected and was visible from Race1, PER is an improvement over ALB or GAS. I just hope in the 2nd part of the season he will be at home in the car and up there with VER and Mercedes every session.

    1. He does seem to make steps forward every race @mg1982, so far things look to be going in the right direction for him.

  4. Impressive nursing of those tyres for 53? Laps. Shame he didn’t get the fastest lap point but he’s getting there.

  5. 53 laps what can RedBull do with that 🤔. To the strategy board to see where that talent fits best or how to maximize that like Sauber did with him.

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