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Perez: It was important we brought the car home

Perez: It was important we brought the car home

Perez: It was important we brought the car home

Sergio Perez claimed the massive gap between him and teammate Max Verstappen during the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix was down to him managing his pace on the final stint.

Verstappen took the chequered flag at Spa over 22s seconds clear of Perez in identical machinery, and was one second faster than him at some points during the race, making it fair to say – taking inspiration from Toto Wolff – that the #1 RB19 made the #11 RB19 look like an Formula 2 car.

Verstappen passed Perez after both have pitted for the first time and set out building a gap meaning he never relinquished the lead, his race engineer continuously urging him to slow down.

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However the Mexican was adamant there is an explanation for the huge gap, he told Sky Sports F1: “On that second stint, Max pulled away a massively good gap and then I went off into Turn 11 and the gap got bigger so from that point onwards it was about making sure that we brought it home.

“We were a bit too aggressive with the car set-up not having any practice so it was important that we brought the car home,” he insisted.

Nothing can be taken away from Max

“There is nothing to be taken away from Max certainly,” Perez admitted. “He did a tremendous race and has had a tremendous season. The gap looked bigger today due to the reasons I’ve mentioned because we had to make sure we brought it home once the result was settled.

“But certainly Max has done a tremendous job and he’s very talented, around his team they’re getting the maximum out weekend after weekend.

“We have this summer break to make sure we get on top of things and we have a bit of time and hopefully we are able to find some bits that can bring us to the form we had earlier in the season,” Perez concluded.

The gap to Verstappen may have been massive, but for the second race in a row, Perez has raised his game with two consecutive podiums, and while he was far off the Dutchman in Qualifying in Hungary, the Mexican was closer in Belgium, which is what Red Bull want of him exactly.

Perez said in Red Bull’s press release: “Two podiums in a row now and our main objective is to continue to stay on the podium. I am looking forward to the summer break and going into the second half of the season to come back even stronger.”

Now it will be up to Perez to maintain this form when he comes back from the summer break. He is second in the Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship, 125 points behind his teammate.