After the poor qualifying, Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez had a lot of work ahead of them at the Formula 1 race in Hungary.
But while the Dutchman was able to win the race from tenth place, in the end it was only enough for Pérez to finish fifth, even though he started just one position behind Verstappen.
In the end, the teammates separated by almost 16 seconds, but the Mexican emphasizes that his strategy was not optimal.
“It would have been important to make the undercut against Hamilton because he was pretty quick,” says Pérez.
“Max did it, but I didn’t. At that point I had some wear on my tires. And after that in the second stint, we actually aimed to use a one-stop strategy, so I didn’t push that much,” he explains.
Chance on the podium without a virtual safety car?
“Towards the end the pace was pretty good again, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough for the podium. George [Russell] and Carlos [Sainz] were only a few seconds ahead of me and without the virtual safety car it would have been tighter.”
So given the circumstances it was a decent result for Pérez after struggling with the RB18 in recent weeks and subsequently falling far behind in the championship fight.
“We are aware that the past races have been a bit difficult. Things have changed on the car and we have to do it at the next triple header [nach der Sommerpause] just hit back even harder,” says Pérez.
Sergio Pérez optimistic: “Have good ideas”
Recent updates to the RB18 don’t seem to have accommodated Pérez’s driving style. While he was still able to keep up to some extent with Verstappen at the beginning of the season, the gap has increased back to the previous year’s level, at least over a fast lap.
“We worked very hard,” Pérez says of his problems. “Especially this weekend and we came up with some good ideas. Now it’s important to bring everything together.”
In the championship, however, the Red Bull driver is almost hopelessly behind. Pérez is 85 points behind his teammate Max Verstappen, but at least he was able to reduce the gap to Charles Leclerc in second place with the race in Hungary, which puts him only five points behind the Ferrari driver.