Sergio Perez says he feels he deserved a podium finish after dropping from third to fourth in the Dutch Grand Prix following a penalty.
The decision to pit for intermediates was his call, he confirmed when speaking to media including RaceFans after the race.
“It was chaos, just changing a lot,” he said. “[Red Bull] were super quick, so well done for the team on that.
“Unfortunately we didn’t get right that there was more rain coming on the intermediates, otherwise we could have pushed more on that first stint, probably keep the lead for longer.”
Perez led the race on intermediates until pitting for slicks on lap 12, with Verstappen undercutting him to retake the lead of the race after pitting the lap before. Prior to the stop, Verstappen had been catching his team mate at a rate of over a second a lap.
“We were expecting rain,” he explained. “The team was telling me that there was more rain coming, so it was very important to [manage the intermediates] because the track was on the dry side. So if I were to push I would just have destroyed the inter tyre.”
Despite losing the lead to his team mate after being called into the pits after Verstappen, Perez said the trusted that Red Bull had made their strategy calls in good faith.
“I think, in those scenarios, the team just have more information than we do at the time,” he accepted. “So, something we obviously will review during the meeting, and I’m sure there’s a reason behind that.”
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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said they pitted Perez after his team mate because they were concerned Verstappen would be jumped by other drivers if they left him out for another lap.
After the late red flag and restart, Perez was hit with a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane when he came in to switch from intermediates to full wets during the second spell of rain. He also brushed the inside wall on the pit entry, but avoided any significant damage to his car.
Asked if he was surprised to have received a penalty, Perez said “not really”.
“As I was coming into the pits it was completely flooded at the time, and when I braked I just went straight into the wall,” he explained. “The rule is a rule. I think that’s the best way it can really protect everyone.”
Perez lost his third place at the finish with his penalty, falling behind Pierre Gasly who finished directly behind him.
“Unfortunately, our great call in the beginning turned out to be not so great in the end,” said Perez. “It’s a shame that we end up losing the podium because I feel like we really deserved it today.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner defended Perez after his driver was only 0.8kph over the 60kph speed limit.
“It’s harsh when you look at such a small margin in such horrible conditions,” Horner said. “But, the rules are the rules at the end of the day and we knew as soon as it was under investigation he was going to get five seconds.
“He was caught up the back of Fernando [Alonso], so he wasn’t able to pull that five-second gap on Gasly. So, frustrating for Checo not to be on the podium today.”
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2023 Dutch Grand Prix
- Azerbaijan GP defeat was key to record-equalling run of wins – Verstappen
- “Too early to say” if podium signals return to form for Aston Martin – Alonso
- Verstappen makes history with unbeaten hat-track in first home races
- Perez is ‘doing his job and will be our driver in 2024’, Horner insists
- Ferrari had the “sixth or seventh fastest car” at Zandvoort – Sainz