(Motorsport-Total.com) – Sergio Perez is unquestionably one of the losers of the Formula 1 weekend in Canada. For the third time in a row, the Mexican failed to reach the third qualifying segment in the truly superior Red Bull and the 33-year-old didn’t really shine with his pace on Sunday either.
Sergio Perez during the Formula 1 race in Canada
While his Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen won for the fourth consecutive time, Perez, who started twelfth on the grid, was only sixth and had to admit defeat in a direct duel between the two Ferraris. With the fastest race lap, the extra point still goes to Perez, but in the Drivers’ Championship he is now 69 points behind second-placed Verstappen.
After the race, Perez had to admit that he just wasn’t fast enough in Montreal: “I feel like it’s definitely a bit more [als P6] would have been possible,” he said. “But we just didn’t have the pace today. We struggled. And I think the first safety car hurt us a lot, it came at the wrong time for us. Yes, luck is not on our side at the moment, but that’s the way it is.”
Data show: Perez too slow in half a second
Looking at the race data provided to us by technology company ‘PACETEQ’, Perez was 0.67 seconds slower than his team mate Verstappen at the front per lap, but this is also down to strategy and starting position.
From P12, Perez had to work his way through traffic first and, unlike Verstappen, was less likely to change tyres. But if you compare the Red Bulls’ two stints on the medium tire towards the end of the race, Perez was more than half a second slower per lap, even in free driving.
So what was the reason for the lack of rhythm? Perez explains: “Especially the braking. I think the ride wasn’t great and the braking was the biggest problem. And that’s what we have to deal with and make sure we’re able to understand what happened.”
Horner: Perez was too slow to beat Ferrari
However, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner played down speculation that there was a mechanical problem with the car: “I don’t think there was anything specific,” he said. “I think like the others he had problems generating tire temperatures. Of course that’s something Max has always been very good at, the way he drives the car.
“I think Checo, who started on the hard tyres, lost some ground before stopping on the medium. He had similar issues to what he had on the hard tyres, but then he had a clear gap to the rear. And that’s where we got the quickest lap.
Asked if there was a scenario where Perez could have landed ahead of the Ferraris, Horner replied: “You would have needed a reasonable pace difference, but Checo didn’t have that today.”
Three times not in Q3: Marko with a subliminal criticism of Perez
The dynamic between Perez and Red Bull Motorsport advisor Helmut Marko was also interesting to watch over the race weekend in Canada. After qualifying, the two could be seen having a more or less heated conversation in the Red Bull Motorhome after Perez, like Charles Leclerc, put on the wrong tires in Q2.
After another early retirement in qualifying, Marko told ‘ServusTV’: “Well he switched to slicks a track later and then it started to rain again. And he didn’t really manage the last lap on the rain tires either. It’s very tight and everything has to come in at the right time. And yes, we only have one Max.”
Ferrari knows the strategy! I Analysis of PACEEQ data
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He also downplays Perez’s fastest Grand Prix lap: “Well, that was clear with the soft tires at the end, no weight. I mean, he made the most of it.”
“He started with the hard tires and that strategy didn’t work because we couldn’t get the temperature right,” Marko explained. “We had thought that he would rise more at the start and then he could attack with the mediums at the end, but I’m satisfied. And in Austria he finally has to manage qualifying.”
Verstappen has no sympathy: ‘It’s not my problem’
Although there are still 14 races to go, the momentum within the Red Bull team seems to have completely collapsed. While Perez was able to shine at the start of the season on his special runs in Saudi Arabia and Baku and was therefore a serious World Cup rival for a short time, the World Cup train seems to have left after the recent weak results.
In any case, Verstappen has no sympathy for his teammate’s problems, as he hinted after qualifying: “It’s not my problem. It’s something they do [das Team] maybe still working. But you have to ask him.”
“I’ve been busy improving the shape of the car and you certainly don’t think about it at a time like this. And not now either. I’ll be back in a moment, I’ll have a Red Bull and I’ll have a meeting. Then I’ll go straight to the hotel and take a good shower.
And how would Verstappen feel if he didn’t reach Q3 three times in a row while his team-mate clinched pole position each time? “Of course I wouldn’t be happy about that,” he laughs. “If I hadn’t been here today, obviously things would have been very different for the team. Of course, you can see it that way too.”
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