How Red Bull handled Perez and Verstappen’s scrap for fastest lap in Jeddah

2023 Saudi Arabian GP team radio transcript

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Max Verstappen wasn’t able to chase down his team mate Sergio Perez for victory in the second half of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

However Verstappen made sure he came away with the bonus point for fastest lap. That was vital for had Perez taken it he, and not Verstappen, would have emerged from the second race of the season in the lead of the world championship.

Following the race Perez indicated he thought the team wanted the two drivers to stick to a target lap time over the final laps. “They told me to keep a certain pace and they told me I had the fastest lap and to keep a certain pace,” he said. “So I thought that communication was the same to Max.”

Red Bull had given their drivers similar instructions. After Verstappen reported concerns about his driveshaft the pair were told to target a lap time of 1’33.0. It took a few laps for Verstappen to comply with this, leading to some confusion at Perez’s end. “It’s something we need to review,” he said after the race.

Verstappen and Perez’s radio messages

(L to R): Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin; Max Verstappen, Red Bull; Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2023
Verstappen began catching Perez after passing Alonso

Having started 15th, Verstappen was up to second place by lap 25, and began his pursuit of race leader Perez.

Lap: 25/50 VER: 1’32.933, PER: 1’33.426
LambiaseCheco lap time 33.4.
LambiaseAlonso has DRS.
Lap: 26/50 VER: 1’32.940, PER: 1’33.072
LambiaseGap 0.9.BirdSo Max’s first lap in free air 32.9, main deficit turn 16.
LambiaseStrat 11, strat one-one.BirdGap 5.1.
LambiaseYou’re clear behind on DRS now.BirdUpdate on the balance
BirdA bit of understeer in the high-speed. Front-right.

Verstappen asks the team to keep him updated on how quick Perez ahead is going.

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Lap: 27/50 VER: 1’32.838, PER: 1’32.891
VerstappenTell me lap times ahead.BirdMax ‘s lap a 32.9. Gap 5.3.
LambiaseIt was a 33.0. Exit 13 and 27.
LambiaseGap behind now 3.6.
Lap: 28/50 VER: 1’32.869, PER: 1’33.025
BirdMax’s lap 32.8. Gap 5.2.
Lap: 29/50 VER: 1’32.670, PER: 1’32.726
BirdMax’s lap 32.8. Gap 5.1.

Verstappen takes a few tenths of a second out of Perez. His race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase offers suggestions to improve his pace. Meanwhile Perez is being updated on his team mate’s pace and where he is losing time to him.

Lap: 30/50 VER: 1’32.877, PER: 1’32.726
LambiaseMax engine seven, position 11 when you can.BirdMax’s lap 32.6, gap five seconds.
Lap: 31/50 VER: 1’32.382, PER: 1’32.554
LambiaseAnd now strat nine. Strat nine. Any drive-ability issues, go back to strat 11.Bird30 laps complete, 20 remaining. 32.8 for Max, gap 5.2.
Lap: 32/50 VER: 1’32.400, PER: 1’32.498
LambiaseOkay, so 32.5 for Checo, 32.3, gap is five seconds.Bird32.3 for Max, gap 5.0.
LambiaseMax if you want more support for high speed front, it’s display five, position one. Display five, position one.BirdMain loss to Max over-pushing the entry to 16, compromising apex and exit.
Lap: 33/50 VER: 1’32.387, PER: 1’32.550
LambiaseMax you’re currently diff eight and mid seven. Come back on those as well if you need to.Bird32.4 for Max. Gap 4.9.
Bird32.3 for Max. Gap 4.7.
Lap: 34/50 VER: 1’32.341, PER: 1’32.294
BirdRecommend a small lift in 10 to ensure full K deployment.
Lap: 35/50 VER: 1’32.249, PER: 1’32.680
LambiaseYou have some margin at eight and nine if you need it.Bird32.3 for Max. Gap 4.8.
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2023
Following his driveshaft failure in qualifying, Verstappen feared a repeat

Verstappen, who had to pull out of the qualifying session the day before due to a driveshaft failure, alerted his team to a potential problem. At the same time Perez also reported vibrations.

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Lap: 36/50 VER: 1’32.384, PER: 1’32.292
Verstappen[Unclear] I lose the rear, am I dragging the wheels too much on entry?Bird32.2 for Max. Gap 4.4.
LambiaseOkay stand by.PerezStarting to feel some vibrations from the rear axles.
LambiaseNegative, Max.BirdOkay copy that Checo. We’ve got 14 laps remaining.
VerstappenI feel like the driveshaft is running a bit rough.
LambiaseIt’s just the b-bal offset that’s left Max, can’t do anything on the B-bal map itself.
VerstappenMate I’m saying the driveshaft.
LambiaseOkay, standby.
Lap: 37/50 VER: 1’32.496, PER: 1’32.638
VerstappenIt makes like a weird noise at high speed.Bird32.3 for Max, gap 4.5.
LambiaseOkay understood Max. We are monitoring, we’ll let you know.Perez[Unclear]
LambiaseWe are happy at the moment, Max. We are happy.
VerstappenMate there’s something wrong.
LambiaseOkay, stand by. Keep going for the moment.

The progress Verstappen made over the previous 10 laps was reversed as when he lost a second to Perez in a single lap, posting a 1’33.1. Meanwhile Perez set the fastest lap of the race up to this point with a 1’32.188. On the next lap Perez was told to target a lap time of 1’33.0.

Lap: 38/50 VER: 1’33.123, PER: 1’32.188
LambiaseOkay so we’ve got 13 seconds behind. We’re currently lapping a second a lap quicker than Alonso. Display five position two, display five position two.BirdWe’re coming up to Bottas he’s seven seconds, just emerged from the pits.
Bird32.4 for Max, gap 4.3.
BirdOkay so Max is managing now. So we’re just covering Fernando, he’s doing 33.1.

Verstappen was given the same 1’33.0 target lap time as Perez.

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Lap: 39/50 VER: 1’32.432, PER: 1’33.190
LambiaseOkay Max that was track limits at 23 again. So we’d like to target a 33.0, 33.0.PerezSorry, repeat?
LambiaseMax any more feedback on that issue from before?BirdOkay target lap time 33.0. Max targeting the same.
VerstappenWell yeah, it’s still there.BirdFor reference that’s plus 0.8 on the dash, plus 0.8on the dash.
LambiaseUnderstood. Okay, so we’re looking to target. 33.0 Max, 33.0.PerezCopy.
PerezI’m having a bit of a long pedal, brake pedal.
BirdYeah copy Checo, having a look.
Lap: 40/50 VER: 1’32.606, PER: 1’32.830
LambiaseMax confirm 33.0.BirdSeeing reports of debris at turn 23. We’re happy with the brake pedal, just a little bit of wear.
LambiaseTarget 33.0. 33.0.PerezI just need to get by Bottas?
BirdYeah he’s getting blues.
Perez queried why Verstappen was lapping quicker than the target they’d been given

Verstappen lapped quicker than the lap time target and Perez was told to increase his pace accordingly. He warned the team they were lapping quicker than they needed to.

Lap: 41/50 VER: 1’32.638, PER: 1’32.637
BirdOkay target 32.6, plus 0.4.
PerezIs Max doing the same?
BirdMax’s last lap 32.6.
PerezI mean, so why are you telling me 33.0?
BirdJust target plus 0.4, job’s a good ‘un.
PerezWe are pushing without a reason to, guys, but happy to
Lap: 42/50 VER: 1’32.274, PER: 1’32.235
BirdYour lap 32.6, Max’s lap 32.6.

As Verstappen continued to lap quicker than a 1’33.0, Perez was told he’s “free to push”.

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Lap: 43/50 VER: 1’32.343, PER: 1’32.308
LambiaseMax, happy to target 33.0, please.PerezGuys, we don’t really need this.
BirdEight laps to go.
BirdLet’s go… let’s go to 33.0.
PerezWhat is the gap?
BirdGap 4.3.
PerezSo are we pushing now?
BirdYou’re free to push. Free to push.
Both Red Bull drivers wanted to know who was on course to score the bonus point

As Perez sped up, Verstappen finally backed his pace off to over the 1’33 target time.

Both drivers asked their engineers what the fastest lap was. Perez was still on course to score it. Verstappen was initially discouraged from going after it, but following a brief pause Lambiase told him the time he needed to beat.

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Lap: 45/50 VER: 1’32.968, PER: 1’32.419
LambiaseOkay Max that’ll be five laps remaining coming up. Gap is five plus.BirdSix laps to go.
BirdMax’s last lap 32.8, gap 4.9.
Lap: 46/50 VER: 1’33.148, PER: 1’32.933
VerstappenWhat’s the fastest lap?BirdFive laps to go. Target plus 0.8. Gap five and a half seconds.
LambiaseWe are not concerned about that at the moment, Max.BirdMax’s last lap 33.0.
VerstappenYeah, but I am.
LambiaseOkay, so 32.1. 32.1.
Lap: 47/50 VER: 1’33.238, PER: 1’32.895
BirdMax’s lap 33.1.
Lap: 48/50 VER: 1’33.607, PER: 1’33.075
BirdThree laps to go.
PerezWhat is the fastest lap at the moment?
BirdYou’ve got the fastest lap, 32.1.

While Perez cruised to the line with a final lap of 1’33.691, Verstappen produced a 1’31.906 to claim the bonus point for fastest lap and ensure he retained the lead of the championship.

When Perez asked if he has scored the bonus point he was told he hadn’t. His race engineer didn’t inform him Verstappen had taken it, but Perez may well have assumed that given the scale of Red Bull’s performance advantage.

Lap: 49/50 VER: 1’33.835, PER: 1’33.306
LambiaseThis is your final lap.
Lap: 50/50 VER: 1’31.906, PER: 1’33.691
BirdLast lap.
LambiaseOkay Max can I have fail 84, fail 84 and recharge on please mate. So great recovery, well done.BirdWicked job. Wicked job.
VerstappenYeah not bad that. That’s a good result for the whole team.PerezWicked! Ha ha. Oh, nice job guys. Well done. An excellent result for the team.
HornerGreat recovery, Max. That was a really good drive. Fastest lap at the end, 31.9, one-two finish. That’s a really impressive recovery. Well done mate, really well done.BirdRecharge on.
VerstappenYeah I had to be a bit careful the first few laps. It was quite tricky.HornerFantastic, Checo. Absolutely fantastic. Really, really amazing drive. That last stint was on fire. Well done, mate.
HornerYou gave us the willies about hearing those noises, that’s for sure.PerezWell done, guys. It’s been an awesome first two races. Let’s keep it up.
PerezOh yeah. I am a bit thirsty, man.
BirdFail 84 fail when you fail. Fail 84 fail.
PerezDid we get the fastest lap in the end, or?
BirdEr, you were pipped on the last lap.
PerezAh. Great. Haha.
BirdEnjoy the win. That’s the number one job. You’re staying on the track.
PerezLet’s enjoy it, guys. Well done, well done to everyone, to all the boys. It’s been a really tough weekend for you guys. So let’s enjoy it for now.
BirdOkay, stay on track, stay on track.
PerezMax is going through the pit lane.
BirdHe should be staying on track. Halfway down the grid, you’ll see a number one board.
(L to R): Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2023
Perez took the win but missed his chance to lead the championship

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2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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    22 comments on “How Red Bull handled Perez and Verstappen’s scrap for fastest lap in Jeddah”

    1. Might be the only interesting thing this season. The RB car is a rocket so there is no other driver or team that can touch them, so there is no reason why the 2 drivers can’t race for the championship. Stay tuned.

      1. @jimfromus I agree, but the only problem is I doubt Checo could provide a genuine championship challenge as the season progresses.

        1. Sergey Martyn
          20th March 2023, 19:52

          Yeah if the team will frame Checo, he can’t provide anything.

          1. Perez won’t provide anything, default (compared to Max). Blaming the team has had or will have anything to do with his results is … is.. what is it? Envy or disliking Max I guess. Realistically speaking he is simply nowhere near. Remember he should be out of a seat if it wasn’t for a sudden departure of Ricciardo. Best he could have hoped is for Hulkenbergs position now.

        2. @jerejj He has shown he can be up the pace of his teammate in some races (mostly street tracks) but if he can do better in other tracks then the only thing stopping him is his team “Checo this is James”

    2. Lambiase: We are not concerned about that at the moment
      Verstappen: Yeah, but I am.

      Read and digest Checo when next time you’re told what the ‘team’ plan is.
      It was quite clear from the information told Perez that Verstappen was pushing for FLAP and he knew it. TBH I doubt he’d have matched Verstappen anyway.
      What’s more interesting is why Verstappen was unable to catch and pass Perez despite getting the SC bunch up. Many past races he would have done so.

      1. I think he suffered some aero- and/or floor damage and that the car was sub optimal after the drive shaft repair.

      2. Max was unable to get close to Checo and he had at least 1/4 of the race to do it as simple as that, and that’s because the car suits both drivers, it will be a matter of days for Max Sr to complain and treat RBR, then you will see a sudden magical development that suits much more Max driving than Checo’s.

        No reason why Max should automatically catch and pass Perez when both drivers have the same car. Have doubts? Exbibit A – Jeddah 2023

        It is only race 2 and already a good lesson for Checo to learn and apply for the rest of the season. I chose to stay on the positive side and think if he applies what he learned he will have more wins this season FL included.

        When both drivers are given the same tools and strategy it get’s pretty tight at the front. I like how Checo is questioning the Pit calls the same way Max does, its telling that he wants an equal and fair plain field. Let them race!!

        1. Its rather just Monaco ’22 again. The narrative was the same then. People jump to conclusions. In reality Perez is maybe 70% of a Max. So despite same material, it is not going to happen.

    3. I said it in another topic but since it now has its own: this is written up as if it was an inter-team battle. But then you’d be narrowing it down too much. There was an actual race going on with other cars as well? Yes, RBR was way ahead. But while indeed Verstappen and Perez were in contention for flap, so were Russell and Alonso. It was a 4 way battle for the extra point. Well, except Perez didn’t bother to defend his flap. Check the times, Russell came within only 2,5 tenths. Alonso nearly bested Perez, he only came short half a tenth. That was too close to rely on for Perez, he should have tried to better it. He didn’t think of that and that’s on him. And afterwards we read he’s complaining.. about his own lack of race craft? If he feels his race engineer should coach him more in that regard, than that’s worth reviewing. I’m not trying to pick on Perez though. I’m just disappointed because it is extremely unlikely other teams will be putting up a challenge. So for me it comes down to Perez to make P1 interesting. But he needs to be sharper to do that. He had a good shot at that point and he didn’t take it. So if that is indicative, the small hope I had he could put up a fight just went out the window…

      Speaking of coaching.. I don’t like it they’re told what the others are doing, but that’s for another topic…

      1. Oh, interesting, wasn’t aware the other 2 were trying for fastest lap too, it’s indeed too close for comfort half a tenth, and yes, perhaps the race engineer could’ve told him he was at risk but it’s fairly typical nowadays to go for fastest laps at the last lap.

        1. @esploratore1:
          Actually, there were 7 personal bests/flap to be precise in the last lap (50). I included Russell but didn’t include Sainz (and slower) since they were not a threat to Perez’ flap.

          Furthermore there were 5 personals bests/flap in lap 49.

          You can turn it around and of the cars that finished the race, only Bottas set his personal best earlier, on lap 37. Perez set his on lap 38. The next one up is Magnussen on lap 44. The rest obviously after that even.

          So if you look at it like that, it was not very smart of Perez NOT to try and improve his flap with 11 laps less fuel in his car….

          But maybe this is all null and void. I wasn’t able to check, but maybe Perez did try in the last lap but abandoned his attempt?

          1. I just feel there are people trying to push a narrative just to make this a story by zooming in a lot, DTS-style, where if you look at the bigger picture at what was actually going on… there is absolutely nothing there imho

            1. Goes for 90% of all articles on this site since 2021…unfortunately. Where are the f1fanatic days gone?

    4. After the race, Horner said Checo DID try to beat the fastest lap, but was 0.1 above his own time after 1 sector, and gave up.

    5. A bit of a non-story. Max was smart enough to get that fastest lap on the last lap, and Perez was not. The team didn’t manage anything. Both were told what the fastest lap was, yet only Max used that infomation to his advantage.

    6. Perez had it right in that there was no need to push. Max 33, 33 Max, target 33 confirm… Max continues to pump out 32’s. *sigh* okay 32.6 please Checo.

      It’s clear who’s telling who what to do. Actions speak louder than words. That being said it’s clear Max was faster, probably could have overtaken Perez if he really pushed the matter. At least there’s a bit of maturity there not to, keeps at least a bit of harmony.

      I think that’s the key to a truly good 1-2 driver relationship. The #1 needs to give the #2 some wins in cases like this, even if they are the dominant one. Just because you are good enough to win every race in a season, doesn’t mean you necessarily should. Having a capable and compliant wingman to back up your rivals when you need it is worth more in the long run.

      1. I think Max went into get the car home mode after hearing the noises evading the curbs totaly. Also Perez drives the same car which makes it hard to close the gap when the difference was 5 seconds and you win 0.1 of a second you need a lot of laps which there were not enough of.

    7. When was the last time FLAP was made on Hard tyres?

      1. @qeki: we have seen this from Mercedes too just a few seasons back.. but Alonso came close though, Russell was not that far away either..

        We’ve seen in the past where Mercedes was 1-2 with Verstappen 3rd with a huge gap to the F1,5 field, they would box from 3rd to make a run on softs in the end. It’s just that the SC reset the gaps so they didn’t have the opportunity to box. Also Alonso and Russell could not afford to lose anything since they were fighting over the 5 second gap

    8. Lap 43..
      Both drivers knew. At least check.
      “Bird You’re free to push. Free to push.”
      So he had the opportunity but failed to deliver.

    9. He was told 33.0 many, many times, so many times that you’ve missed 2 of them (elsewhere has it as 9 times from lap 39 not the 7 listed). Embarrassing for the team – Max is too good for advice but apparently not good enough to catch his team-mate.

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