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Sergio Perez at Imola GP

Perez: ‘We were dreaming a bit’ as the Mexican reflects on his ‘risky strategy’

Perez confirmed that Red Bull “risked it” with an alternate strategy that didn’t pay off

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Red Bull driver Sergio Perez has admitted that his “very risky strategy” compromised his race at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, with the Mexican recording his worst result of the season.

Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 makes a pitstop during the F1 Grand Prix of Emilia-Romagna at Autodromo Enzo e Dino...
Sergio Perez driving the Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 makes a pitstop during the F1 Grand Prix of Emilia-Romagna at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari Circuit (Photo by Mario Renzi – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
The risk didn’t pay off

Perez kicked off his year with back-to-back podiums in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. However, seven races into the season, as F1 starts its European leg, the best the Red Bull driver could do was eighth, his worst finish since the Qatar Grand Prix in 2023.

The former McLaren driver started the race on the hard compound tyre, the alternate strategy, looking to go long and hoping for a safety car to take advantage of.

Despite this bold call, Perez found his way into the gravel on Lap 18 at Turn 16, losing more time than he couldn’t afford while on the unfavourable compound.

It was Lap 38 that the five-time race winner pitted on for the mediums, but he could only make it back up to eighth, 54.7 seconds of the race lead.

Perez acknowledged that it was a risky strategy for the Milton Keynes-based team but suggested that the damage from his excursion of the track could have been a factor.

In an interview with F1, Perez said:

“We risked it, we knew that it was a very risky strategy, and the teams were not favouring that strategy.

“But we were dreaming a bit with the [possibility of a] Safety Car at the right point for us, and also I think it was really bad… Going off, I was playing with the balance to try and protect a little bit the rear axle, and I just went straight into Turn 16.

“That meant that I feel like I picked up some damage, and that compromised also the race. I lost six, seven seconds, and that put me really close to people behind.”

Perez is beginning to sink

Perez has only finished higher than his teammate Max Verstappen once this season, at the Australian Grand Prix, a race from which Verstappen retired.

The Mexican has yet to win a race since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in April 2023.

This lack of form has been less prevalent in 2024 than last season, with Perez consistently finishing in and around the top 5.

Perez claimed qualifying in Imola was what let him down and was just a “one-off”. 

“I think we just had a one-off, even though the weekend has been strong all the way to quali,” Perez explained. “Unfortunately we just didn’t manage to get a proper qualifying.”

Perez is third in the Drivers’ Championship, six points behind Charles Leclerc in second, and 54 points behind championship leader Verstappen.

 

Featured image: Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images

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