Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Monza, 2021

Towing Verstappen put Perez’s Q3 place at risk and cost him half a second – Horner

2021 Italian Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner praised Sergio Perez for the sacrifices he made to help team mate Max Verstappen in qualifying.

The team choreographed the pair’s runs in Q2 and Q3 to give Verstappen the best possible starting position for tomorrow’s sprint qualifying race.

The pair were sent out of the pits together at the start of Q2, Perez leading Verstappen, the pair maintaining a gap of around four seconds before beginning their laps. As Perez ran without a slipstream from a car ahead, he set a time of 1’21.146, which wasn’t quick enough to secure a place in Q3.

On their final runs Verstappen again followed Perez out a similar distance behind. However this time Perez was able to get a tow from Antonio Giovinazzi and improved his time to a 1’20.882. He made it into Q3 by just three-hundredths of a second.

Horner admitted the team cut it fine. “He was tumbling down the order,” he said, “so it was a little bit nip and tuck in Q2, but thankfully he’d just done enough.”

The team repeated the tactics in Q3. However this time, while Perez again gave Verstappen a tow on both runs, he did the final run without a slipstream of his own. As he was already ninth in the standings at this point, the chances of him moving up from the fifth row of the grid were slim. So it proved: Perez improved his time, but stayed ninth, while Verstappen was unable to improve his time at all, and fell from second to third.

Nonetheless Horner was pleased with the overall result and the role Perez played in it.

“We knew coming into this event that it was going to be one of the biggest challenges for us this year,” said Horner. “But I think as a team we extracted everything we could.

“I think Checo very much played the team role, he gave Max an important tow to be able to get P3, sacrificing about half a second of his own potential if he’d had a tow.”

Horner is satisfied with the progress the team has made at a track which has previously been one of its weakest venues. “I think we’ve halved the deficit to what it was last year here,” he said. “So going into the sprint race tomorrow, I’m okay with that.”

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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...
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20 comments on “Towing Verstappen put Perez’s Q3 place at risk and cost him half a second – Horner”

  1. Where is the hue and cry when Perez is the sacrificial lamb?

    1. @rockgod Most teams had one cars in front of the other to give them a tow. Why make a hue and cry about this one?

      1. Ooooh you cheeky little monkey Balue! πŸ˜‰ The “Hue and cry” being referred to is the “hue and cry”Bottas faces most weeks when he is labelled ” sacrificial Lamb/Wingman/Beta…” etc etc. When Perez/Albon/Gasly help out Max there is no “Hue and Cry”. But you knew this, you cheeky chappie πŸ˜€

        1. Bottas was in front of Lewis in both runs. Lewis failed to capitalize.

          1. Which has nothing to do with the point being made, mind you. The point being: PΓ©rez is sacrificed for Verstappen.

    2. They don’t pretend these 2 have equal status while merc do

  2. Even more impressive was getting Gasly to tow Perez to tow Verstappen – the ‘Honda train’ as Sky put it.

  3. β€œWe treat our drivers equally. There is no #1” says every F1 team but …

  4. It is more difficult to stay at No. 2 than to be at No. 1.

    Reply moderated
  5. Had perez not gotten thru q2 max wld be left without a tow for q3.

    1. Yeah, and given Verstappen didn’t quite need the tow to get througj. from my impression either they got it wrong in q2 or Verstappen had a scruffy lap, perhaps just going for it would have been better for both of them in q2.

  6. Meanwhile…those ranting about team orders on the Mercedes thread studiously avoid visiting this one to comment.

    1. Now you’re ranting about other commenters again.

      1. Now youre complaining about other posters again.

  7. How is that possible since f1 cars “cannot follow each other”

    1. It’s because Monza is made up of mostly very long high speed straights, so the gain you make there is greater than what you lose through the relatively short corners.

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