Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Zandvoort, 2023

Perez laments penalty after losing ‘podium we really deserved’

2023 Dutch Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez says he feels he deserved a podium finish after dropping from third to fourth in the Dutch Grand Prix following a penalty.

Perez started from seventh on the grid but pitted for intermediates on the opening lap of the race as rain fell at the start. As a result, he gained the lead of the race after cars ahead, including team mate Max Verstappen, eventually pitted over the following laps.

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

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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23 comments on “Perez laments penalty after losing ‘podium we really deserved’”

  1. Well, Checo, you spun and hit the wall with your rear, and were very lucky to be able to finish the race. So count your blessings, even if you lost a podium position by speeding in the pitlane (silly thing but a slam-dunk penalty).

  2. “Unfortunately, our great call in the beginning turned out to be not so great in the end,” said Perez.

    Unbelievable to read something like this. The call was perfect, perhaps the best of the season.
    Within 4 laps he was 13s ahead of everybody else. Then proceeded to be slower than Zhou and again, slower than Max stuck in traffic.

    One of the worst drivers of the day despite bringing home some good points.

    1. Checo is a funny driver. He can’t really believe all of this himself can he? I rate him more intelligent. For him it would be better to acknowledge where he stands vs the rest of the field and just enjoy himself.

    2. Perez rarely admits that his driving was off. He’s the first to blame circumstances and the tools.

      I honestly don’t know how he thinks he ‘deserved’ the podium. There were at least 5 drivers on the grid today that deserved a podium more than he did.

  3. He may have ultimately lost a podium finish for that penalty, but already before that, he’d thrown away P2 by going off at Tarzan.

  4. He deserved it up until the point where he messed it up.

  5. Let’s see.

    – Weak quilifying, got bailed out by the weather combined with a well-timed pitcall to get into first
    – Smashed car into the wall during pitstop, got bailed out by having a red flag which prevented a probable DNF according to RB
    – Was nowhere near Max’s pace (as usual), could not overtake Alonso

    Where, exactly, was a podium ‘deserved’ here?

    1. The call to pit was inspired, but the difference in pace with Verstappen was something like 4 seconds soon after. That’s just huge, and Verstappen wasn’t even in P2 at that point. What was he doing? That’s not how you win a race.

      That he then got shafted by his own team in that pit sequence to softs was just icing on the cake. They really don’t care about his results, and with shenanigans like these he’s not giving them a whole lot of reasons to either.

      1. Perez was being told to manage his tyres, presumably Max wasn’t being told this. Why?

        1. Because it wasn’t necessary I guess? If they think it’s necessary they’ll tell him (eg. Spa, on numerous occasions).

      2. @David
        I read this in another thread so I actually checked. It appears one should not presume based on what the TV director serves up…. Kind of what we know already.

        Here are some facts: Verstappen is told to manage his tires 4 times between minute 14 and 20. Perez is also told to manage but he receives more specific instructions. Not just broad statements but actually corner instructions (corner 1 and 11 funny enough). He also receives instructions on diff settings multiple times.
        And last but not least, after minute 20 RBR realize the weather is not going to be worse and they even tell Perez to use more of the tire (twice!) and give time instructions as well (minus 1 on delta, which Perez checks by asking and he received acknowledgement on). So that is basically 4 times given the hurry up. (Verstappen did not receive a hurry up)
        But none of those messages are broadcasted. And none of the messages to Verstappen to look after his tires were broadcasted (when RBR still thought about more rain).

        So, again it is proven messages to broadcast are cherry picked, just to try and create a false narrative. One might even call it ‘fake news’?

    2. Exactly, if anything he proved he doesn’t deserve to drive this car. The audience is the biggest loser here. RedBull must step in and make this right. Imagine Alonso in that second RedBull.

  6. I feel he is lucky that Hamilton, Russell and Norris had poor starts to their race. Otherwise, he would have been likely even further down, and he should not have let Verstappen caught him after being almost 10 seconds ahead. Let alone, he should not have let an Alpine get within 5 seconds of him.

    1. @krichelle he was more than ten seconds ahead. My auntie texted me to say ‘Checo has 12 secs on Max’ I responded that Max will still reel him in. We then saw some replays of the start and the next time I looked up Max was within 3 seconds. He must have closed 8 seconds in about 3 laps or less.

      Checo was in an absolute dream position, and in no time it evaporated. He then made a series of mistakes. So I’m not really sure why he calls it a deserved podium gone. He was lucky to make it to the end and that he didn’t have Lewis directly behind him at the restart and only lost out to Gasly with the penalty.

    2. Exactly, everything came his way but still he managed to .. it up

  7. Why do some sportsmen think they “deserve” points when they didn’t produce the results?

  8. “we really deserved it today.” The team really deserved it because they built an amazing car and put Perez on a potentially race winning strategy. He then squandered his advantage over Verstappen and made multiple mistakes crashing twice and speeding in the pitlane to drop himself behind Alonso and Gasly.

  9. Horner talks rubbish, they could easily have pitted both drivers on the same lap, with minimal delay.

    1. The gap wasn’t big enough to take the chance and why bother? Perez would have .. it up anyway

  10. It’s getting worse isn’t it? He already has the fastest car on the grid by some margin, now he’s had a tyre strategy that gave him the fastest car AND a 15 second advantage, he then goes and squander that lead in a matter of a few laps, makes driving mistakes, puts it in the wall twice, speeds in the pit lane and says “we really deserved a podium”.
    I don’t know if there are many drivers wanting to have a crack at that second RedBull, but come on.

  11. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    28th August 2023, 13:06

    I don’t think he deserved the podium at all. At the beginning phase of the race he had all the chances in the world and it looked great for him and everything he did afterwards just went wrong. It didn’t ‘get away from him’, he threw it away. Probably one of the worst races I’ve seen him do, tbh.

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