Jeddah winner Perez with "best race of his career"

“And groundhog day,” Sergio Perez must have thought at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, when suddenly the safety car came out onto the track and pushed the field, which had drifted apart in the first laps, together again.

A similar scenario cost the Mexicans victory at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit last year. “But not this time,” Perez joked after the success and is happy that it “finally worked out”.

Because the circle has closed for “Checo” almost exactly twelve months later. This time the Mexican also brought his pole position from qualifying to the finish line. Even stable colleague and rival Max Verstappen could no longer spit in the veteran’s soup.

Horner: “Best race of his career”

But while “Checo” got out of his car, still sweating, and threw himself into the arms of his crew in the manner of a last-minute soccer goal scorer, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner ennobled his protégé in front of the “Sky” microphone.

“Perez drove the best race of his career today,” said Horner. The team boss had every reason to be satisfied, as the Red Bulls had outperformed the competition in every respect.

In terms of both pace and grip, there were discrepancies with competitors such as Ferrari and Mercedes. At Red Bull? Not a trace!

“The most important thing is that we had the fastest car. That makes me particularly happy,” said Perez. The team did a fantastic job and eliminated many technical problems that we had at the weekend.

safety car? Could we still have lost!

Exuberant celebrations at Red Bull

Photo: © getty

The failure of Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll once again turned the dynamic of the race upside down. Perez again had to defend his previously experienced advantage. “The safety car probably made sure that we could have lost that,” said Perez.

Team boss Horner took the same line. “We did the job in the first stint, but then the safety car came back.” Criticism of the race management, whether the result, was of course not an issue. Although Stroll, who parked his vehicle in a bay several meters off the track, probably posed no serious danger to any driver.

“We are very satisfied, that was a great race,” said motorsport boss Helmut Marko. Of course, the man from Graz was particularly impressed by the winning driver, Perez. “Since he’s been with us, he’s gotten better every year, and that’s reflected now,” says Marko.

Perez himself, on the other hand, did not skimp on self-criticism in an initial analysis. It was harder than expected, said the Mexican. He failed to start, he wanted to work on that, Marko told “Sky” experts.

Fastest lap? “That is Max!”

Up to the last lap, Perez was also sure of the fastest lap time, which would have meant the lead in the championship standings. But this did not happen. Max Verstappen went one better on the last lap and claimed the place in the sun. The Dutchman decided to do so, although the team didn’t really want it.

“We couldn’t control that. That’s Max,” Marko just shrugged his shoulders on “ORF”. This was preceded by an internal competition via radio. “They both constantly asked: Who has the fastest lap? And of course Max waited until the last moment so that Perez could no longer counter,” Marko explained the tactics of the world champion.

At least the Dutchman stopped attacking Perez. “We said: Five laps before the end, five seconds gap, it’s clear that you can’t catch up,” says Marko. “Or if you catch up, you can’t overtake. They both got that,” adds Red Bull’s motorsport boss. However, Verstappen could not be forbidden to drive the fastest lap.

Verstappen: “It was a good race to catch up”

Verstappen, who had to abandon qualifying on Saturday due to drive problems, started the race from position 15. The Dutchman also made up a total of 13 positions with the help of the safety car phase.

In the first sector, the world champion tried to keep up, but slipped quite a bit. Only then did he “snag” one driver after the other and thus found his racing rhythm. “It was a good race to catch up. I’m happy about the podium,” said Verstappen. “I was second and there was a good gap at the back, then we decided we’d keep it in that order.”

However, the world champion didn’t let the fastest lap time in the last lap be taken from him, team order or not. After all, the duel within the stable was about the lead in the world championship.

The Dutchman is now one point ahead of his teammate.


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Tarun Kumar

Tarun Kumar has worked in the News sector for 05 years and is currently the Owner and Editor of Then24. He reside in Delhi, India with his Family.

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