Checo Perez questions Red Bull over Max Verstappen strategy call

After a torrential downpour, Checo Perez found himself leading the 2023 Dutch GP after starting seventh

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Sergio Perez was cagey about Red Bull’s strategy that saw the Mexican lose the lead to Max Verstappen at the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix, insisting that there had to be a reason as to why the Dutchman was given a more favourable call.

Perez took the lead of the latest Formula 1 race by pitting at the end of the opening lap as heavy rain began to fall. Despite having a substantial lead, the world champion reigned in his teammate to be several seconds behind before both drivers were told to pit on successive laps.

It was Verstappen called in first and with the pace of the dry tyre he managed to undercut Perez to take a solid 3.5 second gap out front, leaving Perez questioning the decision over the radio.

“The team just has more information than we do,” Perez said to the media after the race, including Total-Motorsport.com. “We will review during the meeting and I’m sure that there is a reason behind it.”

Verstappen closed rapidly on him after pitting, making up 13 seconds in a handful of laps to be looming large in the Mexican’s wing mirrors before getting the call to box.

“We were expecting rain,” Perez added. “The team was telling me that there was more rain coming.

“So, it was very important because the track was on the dry side. If I were to push, I’d have just destroyed the inter.”

Sergio Perez of Red Bull Racing leads Charles Leclerc of Ferrari and Lance Stroll of Aston Martin at the start of 2023 Dutch Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

A tale of two Perez gambles

Perez pulled into the pits at the end of the opening lap as the rain began to fall, taking a gamble as if the rain was only brief, he would have needed to make an extra pit-stop to his competitors.

However the rain became torrential and the inter tyre had a massive advantage over the dries, highlighted as Perez caught the group on the slicks before the end of the third lap.

The advantage was so great that once Verstappen finally pitted he emerged out behind his teammate, having lost track position and over 13 seconds of lap-time.

So, when the rain fell again late into the race, it was an obvious choice for Perez to try to repeat the strategy that gave him the lead after four laps. Unfortunately, he sped in the pit-lane and earned himself a five-second time penalty.

At the restart he could not pass Alonso and later finished behind Pierre Gasly as he came home in fourth place.

“It was a great call,” Perez added. “But it turned out to be not so great in the end. It’s a shame that we ended up losing the podium.”

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