Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Losail International Circuit, 2021

Red Bull “played it safe” due to Bottas tyre failure says Perez after missing podium

2021 Qatar Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez says he missed out on a podium finish in the Qatar Grand Prix after Red Bull switched to a two-stop strategy for safety reasons following the tyre failure Valtteri Bottas suffered.

Four drivers has tyre failures during the race. Perez made a second pit stop and still came close to finishing third, but his pursuit of Fernando Alonso was finally thwarted by a late Virtual Safety Car period.

He said the team was undecided about whether to make a second pit stop before the tyre failures swung their decision. “We were in the middle of going into the one or the two,” he explained.

Perez “came out into a lot of traffic” following his first pit stop and had to overtake several cars. “There was a lot of traffic out there and the first laps on the hard, it wasn’t that easy to overtake.

“We lost a lot of seconds and we actually didn’t get ahead of Fernando. But then we overtook him and we were going onto the one-stop and then we changed our mind. I think it was about making it to the end, really.”

Bottas suffered his tyre failure four laps after Perez passed Alonso. “I can imagine that basically we played it safe with the explosions of the tyres,” he said.

“I think we were thinking more in the long-term picture. When we saw what happened to the other cars we were a bit concerned in that. So we played it safe and in the end I think we left some points in the table today but we managed to minimise the losses from today’s race.”

“What happened to Valtteri did put a thought on our heads,” he added. “I think at the end of the day fourth is better than nothing.”

Despite failing to join his team mate on the podium, Perez ensured Red Bull cut Mercedes’ lead in the constructors championship to five points. He said that justified their decision not to risk a one-stop strategy.

“It’s a lot we [could] lose that we are fighting for,” he said. “I’m a team player and of course, as a driver, you want to be on the podium, but it’s the championship what matters. And as I say, fourth is better than nothing.”

Perez began the race at a disadvantage having failed to make the cut for Q3 on Saturday, which meant he started outside the top 10. “We have to analyse it because there are a lot of things that we probably took the wrong direction with the car and also our quali didn’t go straightforward,” he said.

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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
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9 comments on “Red Bull “played it safe” due to Bottas tyre failure says Perez after missing podium”

  1. Seriously, Perez and his what ifs are just ridiculous. He should simply perform better. He has the fastest car of the field for most of the season and managed only one fluke win and rarely even gets onto the podium. Bottas in a slower car has 4DNF’s and a couple of unlucky non scoring races (like Spa) and still has more points than Perez.

    Perez is in a car that was at least a full second per lap faster on race pace and on tyres that should also be at least a second per lap faster as they were 20 laps younger. And yet he only catches up about 10 seconds over a span of 15 laps? He really can only blame himself for that.

    And lets be honest, how does Perez even start behind Alonso? I know Perez has always been poor at quali, but not getting into Q3 with a Red Bull is just plain ridiculous.

    In Brazil you could sense Horner fighting himself to try and praise Perez while also clearly wanting to throw him under the bus for poorly performing again. Also Marko defending Perez’ quali blunder is baffling. I guess they understand this is the least worst they are going to get on a poorly equipped second car with contractual team orders.

    1. Get your details straight mate RB is also under performing more than their second driver who gets Max’s broken car parts and slower pit stops.

      Did they forget they have the F1 tyre whisperer. 🤷‍♂️. Perhaps it was an early gift for Alonso.

    2. He has the fastest car of the field for most of the season

      I know you do not like facts. But the figures proof otherwise.
      The Mercedes is the fastest car. Bad strategy under pressure and lots of mistakes by Lewis are the reason they are still in the game.
      It helps the amount of dnf’s caused by Mercedes to verstappen and perez.
      Without those the championship would be over already.

      1. What facts are these? The fact Max was 4 tenths quicker first race or the fact the 2nd race of the season Perez and Max both binned the chance to get pole in Imola(Perez is awful in qually) which shows how quick redbull is. Or the fact RedBull won like 6 races in a row could of been 6 if Max was more patient in Silverstone he dominated the sprint race.

        Then lets look at Austria 2 races in a row a circuit that is barely over a minute long would you like the gapos that Max won by? Or Mexico do you want the gap for that race just 2 races ago. Or USA Max right up LH behind lap after lap on softs. Please show me the figures you speak of as when 2 drivers are that close in ability you do not suddenly start dominating a championship in the 2nd fastest car. Max has more wins more poles.

        The fact apart from Qatar Perez a bad qualifyer who got outqualified by Ocon who 40 year old Alonso beats has been close in qually to Max recently says to me Max is leaving more pace in the car. Just 2 races ago i seen Lewis have to hold off a 2nd rate driver like Perez behind in Mexico for crying out loud

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    3. Mercedes is, if not the fastest car, at least on level with red bull, I can only agree perez should perform better to be bottas level on average, but not that bottas has a slower car.

      1. Mercedes has the best car for the most of the races, there were some where Redbull were dominant, but not as many as MB, plus no one is considering Perez is in his first year in a completely new car, and Bottas is in his 10th year with a Mercedes powered car.

    4. Why? Is clear 3rd place was his whitout the pitstop, he was able to go to his expected position even with that mess of a quali, but then again, you must be a gasly fan.

    5. I think RBR know that no driver can thrive in a team containing Verstappen. Perez doesn’t particularly care because he could just buy a seat elsewhere if dropped, so at least he’s relaxed.

  2. The most dominant wins of the seasons in terms of race time not when someone has pitted for flap as been in Austria Mexico Monaco guess who won them all lol. 4 tenths quicker first race 2nd race a driver like Checo shoulda been on pole in a car he did not even know hilarious this underdog story they had more wins and poles and there car follows far better in the races lol

    Reply moderated

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