Letting Verstappen pass immediately was essential to ensure French GP win – Perez

2021 Styrian Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez says his team mate might not have won the French Grand Prix if he hadn’t let him pass immediately when the pair met on track during the race.

Red Bull brought Max Verstappen in from the lead for an extra pit stop to guard against the threat of Mercedes trying to attack them using a two-stop strategy. Verstappen emerged from the pits behind his team mate, but Perez was quick to let him through.

“It’s important to always deliver to your maximum and for the team as well,” said Perez. “I knew that Max was arriving and it was critical for him not to lose any track time.

“Also for me – because he was on a different strategy so I was going to let him by – but it was critical that both of us lose as little track time as possible.”

Verstappen lost no time at all getting past his team mate. This ultimately proved critical, as he only caught and passed race leader Lewis Hamilton on the penultimate lap.

“In the end I ended up losing about a second and a half in that lap, Max didn’t lose anything, which was good, at the end a second or two can make a huge difference for the team,” said Perez. “So at the end of the day I’m here to do the best for myself but it also benefits the team.

“I think Max would have done the same for me if it was the other way around so I see no reason why to do it any differently than to maximise the full potential of the team.”

Last weekend’s race was Perez’s seventh since joining Red Bull. Verstappen said he has been a “great team mate” so far.

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“Everything is going really well. Of course, I knew Checo before, but not as a team mate so of course it’s a little bit different. But I think so far it’s been great and to be able to now work together up front to get the best results for the team is what you want.

“So for sure I would want that to continue. He is a great team mate and we can have a lot of fun as well, we don’t need to always talk about cars and set-ups and stuff.”

Having Perez alongside has helped the team take the fight to Mercedes now it has a more competitive car, Verstappen added.

“Before we didn’t have the car to fight them so you could do what you want: make a three stop, put the rear tyres on the front, nothing is going to change.

“Now we have the car to really fight them and of course then it’s super important to be up there with two cars. And that’s exactly what we have been doing now and Baku and Paul Ricard. So it’s going to be crucial for the constructors as well to keep this up until the end of the year.”

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2021 Styrian Grand Prix

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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18 comments on “Letting Verstappen pass immediately was essential to ensure French GP win – Perez”

  1. Truly a no-brainer for SP to have let Max go quickly without him losing time. Amongst other reasons, SP is not in the WDC fight this year. Heck even Nico let LH go at Monaco in 2016 when they were in a WDC fight together, albeit he understandably didn’t make it as quick for LH in terms of numbers of laps that went by before he did, but when he did, NR didn’t fight it.

  2. “Let’s get them!” made it better.

    1. @Dave “Perez, it’s engineer, let Max pass” sounds better actually

  3. Smells like team spirit

    1. Smells like Mild Seven

      1. Smells like the graphic designs seen where there was no Team Spirit

    2. @melanos “Perez, it’s engineer, getnout the way to let Max win”

  4. Perez proves to be a better team mate than I thought. Was thinking about his time with Force India and his bouts with Ocon and was afraid this could happen at RB as well.

    1. Ask Gasly and several others who raced with him: its Ocon that is the toxic part.

      1. No problem at Alpine between Alonso and Ocon so far AFAIK. And Alonso has a (wildly exaggerated in my opinion) toxic reputation

    2. How could it happen without Ocon crashing into him all the time?

  5. Yes, it’s the right move and indeed it can happen even the other way around, if perez was on a 2-stopper and verstappen on a 1-stopper with perez being faster behind verstappen, and this is why bottas’ reaction didn’t make sense in spain.

  6. Max and Checo walked in different strategies, Max with those faster and fresher tires, Checo had nothing to do, Checo played his strategy correctly, he was hunting for Bottas, and he succeeded.

    When Checo goes on a better strategy, Max will most likely let it pass as well.

    RB must have it very clear, if they want to win this championship.

    1. @luis All the excuses for Max i see. Let’s have that same hatred for Max you all had for Hamilton when Bottas moved over in Russia 2018 despite Hamilton was faster than Bottas.

      1. @noname Hamilton wasn’t faster than Bottas. Bottas was moved over because Hamilton was in a championship fight and Bottas wasn’t. In any event, they were on the same strategy, which wasn’t the case here.

        1. Wasn’t it because Seb was catching the pair and Bottas was told to speed up? He didn’t so Ham went in front.

        2. No use feeding them, just ignore that kind of tr-ll-ng

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