How Perez lacked the pace to capitalise on his perfect pit call

2023 Dutch Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez started the Dutch Grand Prix from seventh but was leading by lap three thanks to his bold decision to pit for intermediate tyres on the first lap of the race as rain fell.

Unfortunately for the Red Bull driver it soon became clear he simply was not quick enough to keep his team mate Max Verstappen behind him.

After the race Perez pointed out his team advised him not to push too hard on his intermediate tyres as the track dried out because a second band of rain was expected to hit the circuit. But Verstappen, who was given similar advice, closed on Perez quickly after overtaking the cars between him and his team mate.

“By the time Max got through there was about 13, maybe slightly less that that, seconds between Max and Checo,” Red Bull team principal Christian Horner explained. “But at certain points Max was taking two seconds a lap out of everybody. So his feel, his confidence, commitment is great to witness and be part of.”

Horner somewhat exaggerated how much quicker Verstappen was than the rest of the field. Lando Norris was able to more or less match his pace at this stage in the race, until the McLaren driver caught up to the back of Liam Lawson on lap seven. At that point Verstappen lapped 0.9 seconds quicker than anybody else on the track, which was his largest advantage of the whole race.

Verstappen’s margin over Perez was huge. Between laps five and 10 he took over 10 seconds out of his teammate including over four seconds on lap seven alone. But this was more about Perez being slow than Verstappen being quick. During that six-lap phase, Verstappen was only the quickest driver on track once, while Perez never set a lap within the top six fastest times.

So while the team’s strategy jumped Verstappen past his team mate, Perez would likely have found it hard to keep the other Red Bull behind him. that said, Red Bull were surely not too disappointed that bringing Verstappen in first meant the two drivers were not fighting each other for position on track, especially after the close brush between the pair of them in the Austrian Grand Prix sprint race.

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Good calls, bad calls

From there the race settled down until a cloudburst hit the track with 10 laps to go. “Max pulled out a significant lead, and then the pit stop, and then it started to rain again – and then really rain,” said Horner.

“So we pitted, Max first of all, onto the inter, then on the [full wet].”

The team had to react quickly when Perez decided he wanted intermediates as well. “Checo called very, very late to come into the pits,” said Horner. “I think he was actually in the pit lane when he when he made the call to come in, which is why the crew weren’t ready for him.”

That slow stop cost him around eight seconds. But as other teams discovered the hard way, that could be preferable to staying out another lap on the wrong tyres.

At the beginning of the race, Charles Leclerc made a late call for intermediate tyres. Ferrari weren’t quite ready for him, and his pit stop was even slower than Perez’s later in the day.

However Ferrari recognised the priority was to get on the right tyres. “That first one from Charles looks a bit strange from outside, but it was a very good call from him,” said team principal Frederic Vasseur.

“It was a very late call because he was in the pit lane when he told us. But at the end, even if he lost perhaps seven or eight seconds, I don’t know, in the pit lane, it was a good one.

“If you have a look, I think that [Pierre] Gasly also did a good step forward with this kind of call. But it was a good choice to stop on lap one.”

That stood in stark contrast to Mercedes. Failing to bring either of their drivers in over the first two laps cost them a considerable amount of time. Other teams stuck with their slick rubber having missed that opportunity, but Mercedes then chose to bring their drivers in for intermediates.

By lap 11 their cars were down to 16th and 18th. “In the opening 15 laps, we got pretty much everything wrong that we could have done,” team principal Toto Wolff admitted.

2023 Dutch 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 Dutch 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 Dutch 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 Dutch Grand Prix fastest laps

Each driver’s fastest lap:

RankNo.DriverCarLap timeGapAverage speed (kph)Lap no.
114Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-Mercedes1’13.837207.6556
21Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPT1’13.8890.052207.5158
344Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’13.9040.067207.4658
411Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPT1’14.2310.394206.5559
581Oscar PiastriMcLaren-Mercedes1’14.2990.462206.3654
64Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’14.3900.553206.1150
710Pierre GaslyAlpine-Renault1’14.4410.604205.9755
823Alexander AlbonWilliams-Mercedes1’14.4680.631205.8955
927Nico HulkenbergHaas-Ferrari1’14.4720.635205.8853
1031Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’14.5700.733205.6151
1177Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’14.6980.861205.2649
1240Liam LawsonAlphaTauri-Honda RBPT1’14.8200.983204.9249
1355Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’14.9341.097204.6154
1463George RussellMercedes1’15.1241.287204.0954
1518Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’15.1711.334203.9737
1624Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’15.4171.580203.339
1720Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’15.4891.652203.1137
1822Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPT1’16.2532.416201.0735
1916Charles LeclercFerrari1’17.2773.440198.4133
202Logan SargeantWilliams-Mercedes1’17.3993.562198.113

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2023 Dutch Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

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2023 Dutch 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.
11Max VerstappenRed Bull18.706349
211Sergio PerezRed Bull18.7890.083345
34Lando NorrisMcLaren18.8780.172342
422Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri18.9040.198210
581Oscar PiastriMcLaren18.9790.273115
631Esteban OconAlpine19.0240.318343
781Oscar PiastriMcLaren19.120.414246
840Liam LawsonAlphaTauri19.1920.486446
91Max VerstappenRed Bull19.2890.583211
1040Liam LawsonAlphaTauri19.3070.601559
1144Lewis HamiltonMercedes19.3270.621345
1255Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari19.3980.692341
131Max VerstappenRed Bull19.4290.723461
1411Sergio PerezRed Bull19.460.754212
1555Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari19.5110.805210
1610Pierre GaslyAlpine19.5180.812211
1740Liam LawsonAlphaTauri19.60.894317
1863George RussellMercedes19.6070.901316
1918Lance StrollAston Martin19.6530.947316
2023Alexander AlbonWilliams19.6670.961144
2127Nico HulkenbergHaas19.7131.007248
2277Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo19.7351.029359
2331Esteban OconAlpine19.7951.089210
2455Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari19.8381.132460
254Lando NorrisMcLaren19.8711.165460
2618Lance StrollAston Martin19.9231.217434
2744Lewis HamiltonMercedes19.971.26429
2818Lance StrollAston Martin20.0361.3314
2914Fernando AlonsoAston Martin20.1091.403210
3020Kevin MagnussenHaas20.1371.43129
3163George RussellMercedes20.1481.442210
324Lando NorrisMcLaren20.171.46413
3377Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo20.1871.481116
3418Lance StrollAston Martin20.2081.50229
3577Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo20.2131.507247
3624Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo20.2311.525210
3744Lewis HamiltonMercedes20.2661.5613
381Max VerstappenRed Bull20.3791.67312
394Lando NorrisMcLaren20.3951.689210
401Max VerstappenRed Bull20.4021.696563
4110Pierre GaslyAlpine20.4171.711460
4227Nico HulkenbergHaas20.4381.732116
4324Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo20.4691.763337
4420Kevin MagnussenHaas20.511.804335
4522Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri20.6021.896360
4614Fernando AlonsoAston Martin20.6471.94112
4714Fernando AlonsoAston Martin20.6551.949461
4844Lewis HamiltonMercedes20.7792.073460
4955Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari20.9732.26712
5063George RussellMercedes21.2012.49514
5123Alexander AlbonWilliams21.32.594261
5224Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo21.4392.733460
5318Lance StrollAston Martin21.5322.826560
5431Esteban OconAlpine22.0963.39461
5581Oscar PiastriMcLaren22.3763.67360
5663George RussellMercedes22.3793.673667
5731Esteban OconAlpine22.5343.82812
5811Sergio PerezRed Bull22.6663.9611
5924Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo23.0884.38211
6027Nico HulkenbergHaas23.5824.876360
6120Kevin MagnussenHaas23.5844.878460
6263George RussellMercedes24.0195.313460
6314Fernando AlonsoAston Martin25.1476.441348
6410Pierre GaslyAlpine25.4046.698346
6516Charles LeclercFerrari27.2028.496211
6611Sergio PerezRed Bull27.5968.89460
6710Pierre GaslyAlpine28.4699.76311
6820Kevin MagnussenHaas30.62811.922564
6940Liam LawsonAlphaTauri30.83612.13210
7020Kevin MagnussenHaas31.34112.63511
7122Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri32.32113.61511
7216Charles LeclercFerrari32.68613.9811
7340Liam LawsonAlphaTauri42.64123.93511

2023 Dutch 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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15 comments on “How Perez lacked the pace to capitalise on his perfect pit call”

  1. It’s weird how much Horner hyped up Verstappens performance in the second stint. And yes even the sky team was like why is Versrappen blazing his inters when more rain is coming. Also it’s weird to blame Perez for coming in to the pits unannounced like he rocked up to French Laundry without a reservation wearing sandals. It was a rational thing to do and total melee in the track. Perez hasn’t really earned a lot of respect in the team but they are just clowning him now.

    1. @dmw In cold or wet situation Perez has really problems to keep his tyres in the right window and Max is all most straight on speed in a lap or so that explain it all.

    2. Max being almost 4 seconds a lap quicker than Checo over a 70 sec lap? To me calls for some acknowledgement of the one being stellar or the other not being.

      1. Max allegedly does a lot of simulator work, and I would wager he routinely makes sure hes faster than his teammate, and makes sure he knows his teammates weaknesses and strengths, maybe even studying them more than Checo himself. Max puts in his work, and I think RBR have the better simulation tools amongst the field. Its no different than when Vettel was racing there, they have a clear #1, and Max is clearly keeping his head down. If Checo were faster than Max, that would be astonishing. But right now, they can afford to let Max walk away with it, Merc and Ferrari are p*ssing in the wind, I would dare say Merc are almost delusional in their design, but what ever. It would be different if Merc were faster, RBR would actually be incentivized to make sure the best foot was forward, but with all the work RBR put in, it not surprising to see the #2 fading back, these people are not complete machine/workaholics.

  2. you can’t single out RB for doing that though, cos Ferrari did it, and even AT did it at the beginning, Liam sitting waiting for the crew to find TSU’s tires when the only option at that point was for Inters.

  3. It’s probably just me, but just in case it isn’t, I am struggling to position the Grand Prix lap times chart such that I can meaningfully read the data. I suppose it isn’t hugely important, but it is a shame when such detailed information is provided that I can’t review it very easily.

    1. It’s not just you! I have the same issues. I find that chart the most interesting, would be great to see some improvements!
      (accidentally reported your comment, but maybe it helps :-))

  4. Saumya Agarwal
    28th August 2023, 11:17

    Nice Race!! But it was so surprising to not see Norris, Russell and Alonso not make that pit stop at start. Had 1 or more of them made it, Max would have had to fight a lot more. After Monaco another opportunity lost by rivals to stop Max-Bull juggernaut

    1. Saumya Agarwal
      28th August 2023, 11:20

      Given that they cant beat Redbull in normal race, such bold calls need to be made by them if they want victory

  5. Is the US video feed the only one that shows Red Bull telling PER that he has to manage his tires in every race where PER is in front of VER? Yes, VER is lapping faster and taking fastest laps from PER but PER is ALWAYS being told he needs to manage his tires.

    1. @jimfromus
      Yes… I wonder why.. /s

      Out of curiosity I checked the messages. Verstappen is told to look after the tires 4 times (between 0:14m-0:20m). After the 20th minute it seems clear they were overly cautious and that second shower did not produce more than just a few spots. So at 24m they call Verstappen in.

      The radio traffic with Perez for this inter-period was 6 times more, including all kinds of diff setting changes as well. Seemed like he received a lot more coaching help. And Perez is told look after his tires (esp front left) 5 times. Some messages were very specific including turn numbers (1 and 11 (funny enough)).
      To my surprise however, Perez also gets the hurry up. He was told to use more of the tire on 2 occasions.

      These messages coincide with RBR’s expectations of the weather. Up to minute 20 they expected the next shower to be significant enough to warn both drivers to still have some tire left. But after that they actively encouraged Perez to use more of the tire (they obviously didn’t for Verstappen).

      So my guess is the hurry up messages to Perez were not broadcasted?

      So to answer my own sarcastic question at the start: whatever the audience, they’re selecting radio messages just to stir the pot. By omitting Verstappen got the same messages AND omitting the hurry up messages to Perez they’re obviously trying to frame a narrative.

      …which we all know happens… because Netflix and Netflix fans…

    2. maybe he can’t manage while being fast. Sainz is another one that either drops the pace massively to save tyres or drives asking for tyres every other lap.

      Red Bull does these things all the time, that Turkey 2010 crash happened because they told the drivers different things too, giving the favoured one a chance to attack, but Perez lack so much next to Max and even the other guys with fast cars in terms of consistency, it doesn’t bother me.

      If they offer him an extension, he would sign right away. Why should anyone care?

      1. @Edvaldo:
        Red Bull does these things all the time, that Turkey 2010 crash happened because they told the drivers different things too
        Just to reiterate it: they did not tell different things to the drivers in Zandvoort.*

        *) Or, if you insist there is a difference, then Perez received changes to diff settings and a couple hurry-up messages that Verstappen didn’t get

  6. If Alonso, or another driver, had pitted at the optimum times, could they have won the race?

    Also, was it worth pitting at the end of the formation lap?

    1. Doubt it. Red Bull was much faster after the chaos of the first few laps. Perez being erratic as he is was never under real pressure from Alonso, once he managed to switch the tyres, he was gone in the distance.

      Max doesn’t have these moments and is much faster, he would close the gap in a drying track and make the DRS pass.

Comments are closed.