Sergio Perez looked like he could have gone for the race win in Spain, but team orders instructed him to let Max Verstappen pass.
It’s not a secret that Verstappen is Red Bull’s star driver and most of the external focus revolves around him. However, Spain was a tough outing for the 2021 Champion. His DRS wasn’t working properly towards the start of the race, which prevented him from overtaking Mercedes’ George Russell.
Perez was much faster behind him, and even asked his team to get Verstappen out of the way. However, that didn’t happen and Verstappen eventually found a way past Russell after he pitted.
📻 “Thank you, mate.” Max and Checo switch positions at the front.
— Oracle Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) May 22, 2022
The entire Spanish GP saw most drivers make two or more pit-stops due to heavy tyre degradation. At one point, it was Perez who was leading Verstappen by some margin, and Russell was too far behind to catch them. It was then that the Mexican’s race engineer took to the radio and asked him to not hold Verstappen up.
The 24-year old passed his teammate without any resistance whatsoever and went on to win the 24th Grand Prix of his career.
Sergio Perez could have won the race quite comfortably
It was a great outing for Perez, which could have been even better if he got the win. It did look like Perez could have won the Spanish GP, but the 32-year old has always been a team player, and didn’t disobey team orders in the slightest.
After the race, he didn’t seem particularly pleased with how Red Bull handled the situation. “I am happy for the team but we will speak later,” the Guadalajara born driver said on the team radio.
gutted for checo. he earned this win
— jen ³³ 🇿🇦🍂 RB 1-2 (@soy33lago) May 22, 2022
During his post race interview, he admitted that he could have won the race, and it was very close. However, he fulfilled his duty executing his team’s strategy to perfection, and consequently brought home a 1-2 result for them.
“I think it was close but at the end it is a great team result and I am happy with that,” he said. “We went on different tyre strategies and I let Max by in the beginning, but then I thought I could go by and not lose crucial seconds to make my strategy work. But anyway, it is a team result.”
Verstappen’s win means that he now leads the Championship by nine points ahead of Leclerc. Sergio Perez meanwhile is in third with 85 points to his name.