Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko launched an astonishing quip at driver Sergio Perez after the 2022 French GP, insinuating that he was hungover after drinking tequila the night before, given his poor reaction following a Virtual Safety Car.
Perez and Mercedes’ George Russell were fighting for third place when a VSC was called when Alfa Romeo’s Guanyu Zhou broke down at Turn 6 with four laps remaining.
Russell then caught Perez out after the Red Bull driver received an incorrect message from the FIA as to when racing would resume.
“Sergio seemed to have fallen asleep at the Virtual Safety Car restart, maybe he drank tequila last night,” joked Marko after the race, according to Suddeutsche Zeitung.
Mercedes‘ pace was commendable and even after getting ahead of Perez, Russell was able to stay ahead of the Red Bull and managed to help the Silver Arrows to their first double podium of the season.
VSC messaging issues
There were apparent problems with the VSC procedure as a green flag should be visible between 10-15 seconds after the message that the VSC period is coming to an end, but in France this took over 30 seconds to come.
“It was very unfortunate what happened with the Virtual Safety Car,” Perez told reporters after the race.
“I got the message it was going to end out of Turn 9, so I went for it and then it didn’t end. Then I got the message saying it was going to end through Turn 12. And I was just too close to it.
“It seems like George had different information and he was able to prepare better for it [the restart].
“I mean, it’s a shame the Virtual Safety Car interfered with the result, to be honest. It shouldn’t be the case, but today it was the case.
“It [the message of VSC ending] was totally wrong, there was something going on because it said it was going to end out of Turn 9 and it only ended out of Turn 12.”