Sergio Perez, Fernando Alonso, Interlagos, 2023

Perez praises Alonso’s racecraft after losing “super enjoyable” podium fight

Formula 1

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Sergio Perez praised Fernando Alonso for their late-race battle despite losing a podium place to him by five hundredths of a second at the finishing line.

The pair were locked in an intense battle for the last place on the podium in the closing laps of the Brazilian Grand Prix after Perez caught the Aston Martin driver over the final stint of the race.

Perez took the place by passing Alonso into the Senna Esses at the start of the penultimate lap. But the Aston Martin driver retaliated with a pass into Descida do Lago as the final lap began.

The pair then sprinted up the hill towards the finishing line and Alonso beat Perez to third place by just 0.053s at the chequered flag.

“It was a great fight with Fernando,” Perez said after the race. “I don’t think with a lot of drivers, you can do these types of manoeuvres.

“It was really tight from beginning to the end. It was super-enjoyable, to be honest – I did have a lot of fun. In the end, he ended up getting the podium, but it’s how the sport is.”

Perez’s fourth place finish came after he started down in ninth place on the grid. His starting position had been compromised by arriving at a yellow flag on his sole flying lap at the end of Friday’s qualifying session, which forced him to back off and go from around three tenths off the eventual pole time to over a second off at the end of the lap.

After taking third place in Saturday’s sprint race and gaining five places during the grand prix, Perez said he was satisfied with his drive from the grand prix.

“It was a good performance,” he said. “I think we were just unlucky with the yellow flag there in the end [of qualifying]. But overall, I think it was a good race.”

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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...

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9 comments on “Perez praises Alonso’s racecraft after losing “super enjoyable” podium fight”

  1. well that’s nice. But really, he was shown up wasn’t he. Being nice is probably his best card to play, after the excitements at the beginning of the year

  2. Good for him for taking it on the chin and appreciating a good fight. Qualifying P9 was unlucky for him on this occasion, and definitively a respectable drive, even though on paper P4 in that car is not amazing. I also think Redbull pitted him too early on that first stint in trying to cover off the Mercedes’s, when in reality they were not a threat and he needed to maximise his tyre advantage for later in the race against Alonso.

    1. I was expecting that Checo’s tyres would give up before the flag, supposedly being for so many laps in dirty air should not do them much good. I would have bet Fernando was thinking exactly that, and baiting Checo tho acceleate his tyres’ demise. As the laps went by and Checo was still behind, I was things, soon he is going to drift behind. Well, he did not, until the nail-biting end.
      Good for Checo to enjoy the fight and avoid being a sore loser.
      But, hey Checo, you had better win.

      1. Agreed. I had the same thought on the strategy. I think he was also surprised RBR’s tires held on so well. The car is extremely fast and easy on its tires. So, it’s not that surprising.

  3. Perez should had finished P2 in that car.

    1. @spafrancorchamps I’m not sure that the RB19 is that much faster than others such as the McLaren for the last few races. Verstappen is the one making the difference, and he and Norris just dropped the rest of the field, both in the Sprint and the Grand Prix.

      1. @nvherman Just an opinion, but I agree with the previous poster.

        Even in Perez’ own hands the RB19 looked faster over a stint than any other out there. Alonso admitted that he only repassed due to a mistake by Perez.

        Agreed that Verstappen is making the difference between his and Perez’ results, but I do not believe that margin between Verstappen and the top of the rest of the field is solely down to Verstappen and not the car.

    2. He woul’ve had finsihed P2 had Piastri not screwed up Quali with the Yellow. PER was on pace for P3 or P4 start at worst. Having to come from far back the grid has been the problem on Sundays, but as others said, this time wasn’t his fault.

  4. People are being overly hard on him. We already know there are better drivers for the second seat. Not sure why people are piling on him today. He basically drove an MB Bottas race.

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