Former Renault driver thinks Sergio Perez was a buzzkill to Lewis Hamilton’s Turkey party, as the Mexican stalled his upward trajectory.
Lewis Hamilton was cruising past the midfield as he was setting his eyes on 25 points despite starting from P11 last Sunday in Turkey. The staunch defence by the Mexican was a delight for the fans.
Former Renault driver Jolyon Palmer thinks that for the first time in eight races, Perez didn’t act redundantly to Red Bull, which made the real difference to Hamilton’s prospects in Istanbul.
“Perez put in a well-timed gritty drive, getting back onto the podium for the first time in eight races,” Palmer wrote in his post-race column for F1.com. “The real strength of Perez on Sunday was his wheel-to-wheel battling, particularly in keeping a charging Lewis Hamilton at bay.”
“Too often recently Perez’s poor qualifying performances have rendered him redundant in helping Verstappen’s fight with Hamilton on Sundays. It would have been the case once again in Turkey, with the Mexican only mustering up a seventh-place qualifying on Saturday.
“The difference here of course was that Hamilton would have to come past him despite being fastest in qualifying, due to his grid penalty.”
He intended to damage Lewis Hamilton’s race
Palmer believes Perez spoilt Hamilton’s race in Turkey, and according to him, the 31-year-old Mexican intended to do it. In the end, he got his P3 podium as a reward.
“Where he excelled most was in damaging Hamilton’s race, something it seemed clear he was intent on doing by the way he fought to keep the Brit behind him, when a couple of times in battle it looked like the place was lost,” explained the former F1 driver.
“Hamilton had passed a string of midfield cars with ease early on, and even Yuki Tsunoda – who held him back for a while – didn’t offer the greatest resistance when Hamilton finally went for a move.”
“As Hamilton caught Perez though he was met by a driver with a very different mindset. A driver who was willing to risk everything in their race to hold back a Mercedes which at that moment was clearly faster.”
“Into Turns 12 and 1 Hamilton was almost a car length ahead by the braking zone when Perez sent it back up his inside on the wetter part of track to hold on, and while the Mexican was being squeezed off – all the way to the pit entry and even the other side of the bollard into Turn 14 – he kept his foot in and refused to yield.”
“Often in Formula 1 these days it can feel futile when a driver is clinging on to a position for dear life against a car that is much faster and with a good chunk of the race to go, but Perez’s fight was absolutely worth his while.”