Perez will “review” balance “limitation” with engineers after P3 finish in F1 Chinese GP

Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool
Spread the love

Sergio Perez started the Chinese Grand Prix in the 2nd grid spot and was 3rd when the chequered flag was waved with Lando Norris taking P2 away from him.

At the start of the race, Alonso went around the outside of Perez at turn 1, getting the position from the Mexican.

Perez then regained his position in lap 5 but the fight with Alonso gave him a slight disadvantage at the start of the Grand Prix.

“I obviously was on the inside of Max [Verstappen] and had to brake earlier. And Fernando [Alonso] was on the outside. My start wasn’t that good. So yeah, that meant that I lost the place to Fernando [Alonso].

“And again, I had to fight quite hard to get by him. Probably used a little bit too much my tyres. And that put me definitely on the back foot for the first stint.”

The race was going according to the plan until the first pit stop where Red Bull pitted both their drivers at the same time with a double stack. Verstappen exited the pits and rejoined P4 in front of Piastri and Sainz. Perez came out in P6.

As Verstappen quickly climbed up the pack into P1 on his fresh hards, Perez was in P4 when the Virtual Safety Car was eventually deployed. It became a Red Bull 1-2 again in Lap 23 as Verstappen took the lead of the race with the Mexican right behind him as Norris and Leclerc boxed under the VSC.

But on Lap 24 both the Red Bulls pitted again for another set of hard tyres under the Safety Car that was ultimately deployed due to the engine failure of the Sauber of Bottas. The car was stuck in gear and couldn’t be moved by the marshals.

Verstappen managed to keep his lead after the pit stop but Perez dropped down to 4th behind the McLaren of Norris and the Ferrari of Leclerc.

“Unfortunately, we got the Safety Car and we lost two places. And yeah, effectively that became the race.

“We did the most of the race on the Hard. And yeah, once you start fighting like that in the early laps, the life of the tyre just goes off dramatically.”

The Mexican driver then spent 15 laps trying to get past the Ferrari of Leclerc which caused his tyre to wear out faster. Fighting the Monegasque caused high tyre wear in the dirty air. Eventually he passed him into turn 6.

This made it really difficult for the Mexican to regain his second place from Norris who was ahead by 6 seconds.

“At that point the gap was already quite big and given how good his [Norris] pace was on first stint in terms of degradation I knew it was going to be close but once we basically had the same pace.

“And once you go by the car ahead and you stop fighting for I don’t know how many laps we ended up fighting between Charles [Leclerc] and myself, then it’s really game over. You use so much of your tyre. You put so much energy into them that they never really come back.

“It’s quite a high deg place and I paid the price, you know, but that was the only way I could get by Charles [Leclerc], because we were obviously at the same age tyres and he was really difficult to get by.”

Perez explained that it is hard to know about how the balance is when you’re in a pack of cars. He added that he will look through this with his engineers to improve the balance on the RB20 as it felt like a limitation, nonetheless.

“Well, I think I was just basically fighting you know in the pack. Once you are in the pack it’s so hard to get a read from what the balance actually does.

“You know, when you have two, three cars ahead of you, you have a lot less load in your car, so it’s really hard to know where your balance is at. It’s just a limitation that I had today.

“That probably is something we’ve got to review to see the directions we’ve taken, to see what we could have done better.”