P2 for Pérez in Miami: “First stint was really poor”

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Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Miami pole sitter Sergio Perez was likely hoping to be leading the championship after this Sunday’s Miami Grand Prix with teammate Max Verstappen starting 8 places behind him after his qualifying was compromised with an early mistake in Q3 and then the red flag coming out putting an end to hopes making amends on a later flying lap.

However, although the Perez’s RB19 had enough pace in hand to drop Alonso early on, he then struggled on the medium tyre while Verstappen picked off his opponents in between on the hard tyre, setting fastest lap after fastest lap before going on to pass his teammate without much of a battle and take the win with over 5 seconds separating the two Red Bull cars when the chequered flag was waved.

Speaking to Jensen Button immediately after the race, Perez was honest in his assessment of his lack of pace on what was looking all set up to be his day:

“I tried, I gave it all. I think the first stint was really poor with the graining we had on that initial pace and that compromised quite a lot our race because we didn’t have too much of a difference on tyres. And Max was particularly strong today so it was a well deserved win for him.”

Full of praise for his teammate’s performance though he was, it seems like the Mexican driver (and no doubt his engineers) did not expect the hard tyre to be the strongest race tyre around the Miami circuit this weekend:

“I think the medium initially was really poor, worse than expected and I think that really compromised our pace and I think Max had tremendous pace on the hard tyre and I am gonna analyse what went on today because we simply didn’t have the pace.”

Though he put on a brave face for the cameras in Parc Fermé, one thinks that an opportunity for Perez was lost today, not just to take the lead in the championship but to keep himself in contention to be considered an actual rival to Verstappen in the title fight as a whole.

Could he have done better or was his race truly undone by the medium tyre, an issue it seems nobody predicted? The upcoming European triple threat of Imola, Monaco and Barcelona will be a big test for the 33-year-old Mexican driver if he is to keep hopes of a maiden championship alive.

Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool