Sergio Perez ripped apart for Max Verstappen cooldown room outburst
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Sergio Perez should have known better before questioning why Max Verstappen was able to get the fastest lap before the chequered flag in Sunday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, according to Dutch racing driver Tom Coronel. Apart from losing the lead temporarily to Fernando Alonso at the start of the race, Perez put in a dominant performance to pick up his first win of the season.
He rarely had to check his rearview mirrors, particularly with Verstappen starting the race in 15th. But the reigning two-time world champion didn’t take long to close up on his Red Bull team-mate with a Safety Car period helping to push him further up the grid.
Overtaking both George Russell and Fernando Alonso proved an easy task for Verstappen, but Perez was too far out in front to catch. The Mexican was all set to take the lead of the world championship, that was until the final lap of the race.
Verstappen appeared to push the Red Bull pit wall to allow him to make a push for the fastest lap, which he got by two-tenths with Perez seemingly unaware of what happened at the end. Perez then appeared to confront Verstappen about the fastest lap in the cooldown room after the race and seemed less than impressed.
Speaking after the race, Perez said: “They told me I had the fastest lap and to keep the pace at a certain pace. I thought the communication was the same to Max, I think we need to review the different information and I just couldn’t push then in the end.”
But Coronel believes Perez was making something out of nothing and thinks the Red Bull driver should have known better. “You also have to let them drive freely,” Coronel said on the RacingNews365 Formula 1 podcast.
“You know Max, come on, act normal! You know your teammate through and through and you think he doesn’t? What sleep mode are you in then?”
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Perez indicated that his anger stemmed from both Red Bull drivers unnecessarily pushing their cars with Saturday’s reliability issues still on his mind. “Obviously, they have more information than us and I think the team did a fantastic job of letting us race,” he said.
“I just felt like there was a point where, for the last 10 laps or so, we had very similar pace – within a tenth faster or slower. I just felt like the gap, it would have been probably a little bit less or a little more, but it wouldn’t have changed anything.
“I was just thinking about the car and just making sure… I was having some strange vibrations and obviously, what happened to Max was on the back of my mind today and I’m sure it was on the back of the mind of the team as well. So it was just a matter of making sure both cars finished to maximise maximum points.”
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