Why Red Bull believe Perez’s conservative start to race hurt him in Miami

2023 Miami Grand Prix

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The seeds of Sergio Perez’s defeat in the Miami Grand Prix were sown in the opening stint of the race, his Red Bull team believe.

Despite starting from pole position on the medium tyre compound, Perez failed to pull out a significant lead over team mate Max Verstappen, who closed in on him despite starting from ninth place on the hard tyre compound.

“I think the damage was done to Checo in that first stint and he didn’t have enough of a buffer for later in the race,” Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said afterwards.

Verstappen emerged from the pack of cars which separated him from Perez by lap 15. At that point there was just 3.7 seconds between them, and Verstappen was easily able to draw close to Perez and put him under pressure.

Perez didn’t make a quick getaway after taking the lead
Perez was taking great care with his medium tyres at this stage. So much so that Verstappen was the quicker of the two on every lap from the fourth tour until Perez came into the pits on lap 19.

“The first ten laps [Perez] was very much managing the pace,” said Horner. “I think he was nervous about the front-right.

“As we started to see other teams start to get a bit of graining, I think he was driving well within himself and the car to protect that front-right.”

While Perez replaced his medium tyres after 20 laps, other drivers such as Fernando Alonso and Zhou Guanyu went further on them. Horner suspects Perez needed to increase his pace earlier in the race to stand a chance of out-running his team mate.

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“He started to push after the first 10 laps and started to build a lead. I think probably with 20-20 hindsight, if he looked at the race again he’d push harder in that first stint because the medium tyre actually turned out to be a very good tyre as we saw with Fernando actually going quite a long way.”

However Verstappen’s sheer pace was always going to make it difficult for Perez to contain the threat from his team mate, said Horner.

(L to R): Nico Hulkenberg, Haas; Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Miami International Autodrome, 2023
Verstappen lapped quicker than Perez while passing rivals
“What was truly impressive today was, obviously Checo did a great job converting the start, but Max never dropped more than five-and-a-half seconds behind him despite being in the traffic and then efficiently made the progress through the traffic.

“On that first stint when Checo pitted he was know just over a second, a second-and-a-half behind. And then the real crux of the race was the next 22 laps of Max on the hard tyre basically was a race against the stopwatch and on 20-lap older tyres. That’s where he was truly impressive to match the lap times, sometimes better the lap times of what Checo was able to do. That was where he won the race.”

Verstappen failed to rejoin the track ahead of Perez after his pit stop, due in part to a slightly slow pit stop. However Verstappen lost no time passing his team mate for the lead of the race and was on his way to an emphatic victory.

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2023 Miami Grand Prix lap chart

The positions of each driver on every lap. Click name to highlight, right-click to reset. Toggle drivers using controls below:

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2023 Miami Grand Prix race chart

The gaps between each driver on every lap compared to the leader’s average lap time. Very large gaps omitted. Scroll to zoom, drag to pan and right-click to reset. Toggle drivers using controls below:

2023 Miami Grand Prix lap times

All the lap times by the drivers (in seconds, very slow laps excluded). Scroll to zoom, drag to pan and toggle drivers using the control below:

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2023 Miami Grand Prix fastest laps

Each driver’s fastest lap:

RankNo.DriverCarLap timeGapAverage speed (kph)Lap no.
11Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPT1’29.708217.156
214Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-Mercedes1’30.5190.811215.1657
311Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPT1’30.5600.852215.0657
444Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’30.6690.961214.857
518Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’30.8621.154214.3544
627Nico HulkenbergHaas-Ferrari1’30.9011.193214.2636
763George RussellMercedes1’31.0151.307213.9957
822Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPT1’31.0381.330213.9356
931Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’31.1431.435213.6956
1055Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’31.3621.654213.1755
1116Charles LeclercFerrari1’31.4341.726213.0157
1221Nyck de VriesAlphaTauri-Honda RBPT1’31.5621.854212.7157
1320Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’31.6911.983212.4153
1424Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’31.7362.028212.356
1577Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’31.8382.130212.0756
1623Alexander AlbonWilliams-Mercedes1’31.8522.144212.0455
1710Pierre GaslyAlpine-Renault1’31.9712.263211.7655
1881Oscar PiastriMcLaren-Mercedes1’32.0062.298211.6856
192Logan SargeantWilliams-Mercedes1’32.3842.676210.8250
204Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’32.4012.693210.7847

2023 Miami Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

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2023 Miami Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

RankNo.DriverTeamComplete stop time (s)Gap to best (s)Stop no.Lap no.
111Sergio PerezRed Bull21.884120
231Esteban OconAlpine21.9420.058139
316Charles LeclercFerrari22.0680.184117
444Lewis HamiltonMercedes22.150.266137
581Oscar PiastriMcLaren22.2050.32115
655Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari22.2780.394118
763George RussellMercedes22.3350.451117
822Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri22.390.506136
910Pierre GaslyAlpine22.4170.533115
1023Alexander AlbonWilliams22.4820.598122
1120Kevin MagnussenHaas22.6160.732114
1214Fernando AlonsoAston Martin22.6310.747124
1318Lance StrollAston Martin22.6510.767142
141Max VerstappenRed Bull22.6880.804145
1524Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo22.7960.912131
1627Nico HulkenbergHaas23.121.236133
1777Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo23.1581.274115
1821Nyck de VriesAlphaTauri23.4871.603115
194Lando NorrisMcLaren24.092.20614
202Logan SargeantWilliams48.93827.05412

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2023 Miami Grand Prix

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Author information

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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17 comments on “Why Red Bull believe Perez’s conservative start to race hurt him in Miami”

  1. Did Perez’s engineer tell him to push when they saw the rate at which Max was coming through the field? My guess is no.

    1. @bassclef

      My guess is Perez was driving as fast as he could. He was just no match for Verstappen.. like most of his races since he’s joined Red Bull.

    2. I am 100% certain Perez and his engineer spoke about this pre-race. They already knew Max would be coming strong, so you can’t tell me Perez was caught by surprise over this.

      As @todfod said, I think this was all Perez had. Max had half a second on him all weekend and that did not change in the race. Perez could occasionally match his laptime for maybe one lap, but when Max is doing it lap after lap and Checo isn’t, eventually something’s gotta give.

      1. I think Perez might have been able to go quicker at the start of that stint, but then his pace would have dropped off more towards the end. It could be that the result would have been somewhat better with hindsight, but I am pretty sure Perez himself (nor his engineer) felt confident driving faster would help him out.

        We’ve seen often enough that as soon as the fronts are what limits pace more than the rear Max has been better with these cars at getting the most out of the tyres and especially doing that super consistently when needed, while Perez just cannot maintain that pace or consistency.

        1. that should be – NEITHER Perez himself (nor his engineer)

    3. You can check it on the on-boards at F1 TV. I followed some onboard lap’s from Checo and every lap I saw he was informed of Max his lap time. However it was mentioned on F1 TV he wasn’t updated all the time but that sounds very unlikely to be honest.

    4. Perez reported having issues with his tires.. so no.. pushing harder was out of the question… So please stop, Perez Simply had no answer for. Max yesterday

      1. Max stint on the hards was impressive. Being faster while nursing. Checo knows it is game over. He might win Monaco or another Mickey Mouse track, but over the course of a season.. I would love to see Hamilton or Alonso in that second RedBull. Max won’t shy away from it. He can handle them mentally for sure but most likely on skill level as well, especially given the age difference which must account for something (however small it may be).

  2. Perez completely failed to take advantage of Verstappen coming from the back. When he went for tyres Verstappen was already all over him.

    But he said he was having his worst weekend of the year and only got pole for a set of circunstances, so i guess it was expected.

    1. Yes, I’m guessing he could’ve been 3rd on the grid if it hadn’t been for leclerc’s mistake, which ruined his own lap and prevented verstappen from having a second go.

  3. Many naive comments on here and social media in general regarding the lack of (aired) communication between Perez and his engineer. Aside from the obvious fact that they’ll have discussed this scenario ahead of the race, and was further updated at least once after his pitstop.. Since when is a driver free from responsability of his own destiny? Perez is responsible for his own success. If he felt that he required further information he should’ve demanded it over the radio.

    Verstappen, Hamilton, Rosberg, Russel, Alonso.. they all request and demand the proper information whenever it suits them.

    1. Yeah, I sort of agree. I also think that Horner/Red Bull saying this is typical of the way they ‘support’ Perez. I do believe he gets all the info he asks, but in the end the team lead expect and want Verstappen to win when the flag/season end drops.

    2. I think just about any driver who had the same margin back to Alonso that Perez had at the end of the race would have at least asked to bolt on a set of softs to go for fastest lap, that was the bit that surprised me especially after Perez being upset on Max taking it from him in an earlier round.

      1. I think the gap was unsafe, he risked to end up behind alonso.

  4. Perez should have started on the hards, big mistake.

    1. I have an opinion
      9th May 2023, 5:23

      If you look at the other drivers on the H/M strategy, it was not notably advantageous. The drivers that did well were those that were arguably “out of position” from qualifying. Perez’s only strategic mistake was to not drive as well as Verstappen throughout the whole race.

    2. … as to give Alonso a chance at the start? Not a good idea. Defending against Alonso will cost time too.

Comments are closed.