Red Bull will let me win despite team orders in Spain, says Sergio Perez


Sergio Perez was ordered to hand Spanish GP victory to Max Verstappen, but after talks with Red Bull, the Mexican says that he won't have to play the No2 role this season

Sergio Perez walks into the Red Bull pit garage

Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Sergio Perez has said that he is free to compete for race wins this season, despite being ordered to move over for Max Verstappen in last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

The Mexican gave up the lead of the race to his team-mate, allowing Verstappen to move into the lead of this year’s drivers’ championship, but made his displeasure known. “That’s very unfair,” he radioed. “I’m happy for the team but we need to speak later,” he added at the end of the race.

Speaking ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix, Perez said that he had discussed the incident with the team and been reassured that he won’t have to play No2 to Verstappen at the moment.

The team admitted that it could have done more to maximise his pace during the race, according to Perez, who was on a different strategy to Verstappen. He also allowed Verstappen past in the early stage of the Grand Prix, but wasn’t then allowed back past his team-mate mid-race when the Mexican had the faster Red Bull.

“We spoke after the race,” said Perez. “They made it clear that I have full support of the team to see me winning… It’s clear, I think, on my side of the garage. It’s clear inside the team otherwise I wouldn’t be here.

“We all agree that we could have done a better job to give a better shot to both strategies to see which one worked. At the end of the day it was a great team result. And it’s a great momentum behind Red Bull at the moment.”

Sergio Perez allows Max Verstappen past in the 2022 Spanish Grand Prix

Perez complied reluctantly with team orders


Verstappen dropped behind Perez early in the Spanish Grand Prix after going off track. The Mexican struggled to pass Russell, so was told to allow his team-mate past, with the promise that the gesture would be paid back.

Verstappen — who was also stuck behind the Mercedes — was then switched to a three-stop strategy in a bid to overcome DRS issues and the defensive Russell.

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Mid-race, this made Perez faster than his team-mate, and as he approached the rear wing of Verstappen, he radioed in: “Get me Max out of the way so I can overtake quickly… Why don’t you let me by? I have very fresh tyres. I can get by quickly…. We will compromise our race.”

He was kept behind Verstappen until the Dutchman made his third stop, promoting Perez to the lead. When the world champion came racing up behind his team-mate on fresh tyres, the team ordered its cars to make the switch to Perez’s vocal dismay.

“When you’re in the car, you have certain information and you know the team has a wider picture,” said Perez. “In the car at the time, it felt like we could have done a better job especially in the second stint [when Perez was stuck behind Verstappen], you know giving a better opportunity to the two-stop strategy to see if it could work or not.

“But it was clear that the three stop was the way forward. It was better to go that way.”

Perez’s 12-month contract expires at the end of the season but he says that he expects to agree an extension with the team. “As you know, it’s never easy to get a contract out of Helmut [Marko, Red Bull advisor] and Christian [Horner, team principal],” he said. “At the moment it is not the highest priority but I think we are both very happy and we should see that coming soon.”