During the first lap of the F1 Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort, rain began to pour. Sergio Perez, who started in seventh position, seized the moment to pit and switch his soft Pirelli tires for intermediate ones.
Most of the drivers followed suit a lap later, but the swift decision provided Perez with a 10.4-second lead over George Russell. Meanwhile, Max Verstappen found himself lagging by 14.246 seconds by the time the fourth lap rolled around.
Despite the disadvantage, Verstappen, who later claimed victory, started lapping almost four seconds faster than his teammate Perez. By lap 11, the two-time champion pitted, executed an undercut, and managed to leapfrog into the lead.
Perez attributed the notable speed gap to the necessity to conserve his intermediate tires, especially since Red Bull had advised that additional rain was imminent.
In an interview with F1 Flow.com, Perez explained, “The team was signaling that more rain would follow. The track was more on the dry side, so pushing hard would have just annihilated my intermediate tires.”
Perez opined that had the expected rain actually materialized, he could have sustained his leading position for a longer period.
However, a twist of fate saw Perez spin out of his second-place spot when torrential rain made a late appearance. This mishap allowed Fernando Alonso to overtake him. To add insult to injury, a five-second penalty for speeding in the pitlane dropped Perez from third to a fourth-place finish behind Pierre Gasly of the Alpine team.
Speaking further, Perez said, “The intermediates were exceedingly fast, and kudos to the team for that early pit call. Unfortunately, the additional rain we were bracing for never showed, affecting our initial brilliant strategy.”
Summing up the race’s volatile conditions, he said, “It was utter chaos from the get-go, and our initial masterstroke didn’t pan out as we’d hoped. It’s disappointing that we couldn’t clinch a podium spot today, which I think we truly deserved.”
After the race, Perez opted to switch out his intermediate tires and returned to the track 3.5 seconds behind Verstappen. Reflecting on the differing strategies between him and his teammate, Perez stated, “I believe the team had access to more information than we did at that point. It’s a subject we’ll certainly dissect in the team meeting, as there must be a rationale behind it.”
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Tire conservation
What caused the speed gap between Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen in the Dutch GP?
Sergio Perez explained that he needed to conserve his intermediate tires due to the expectation of more rain. Pushing hard would have destroyed them on the drying track.
Why did Max Verstappen pit earlier than Perez?
Verstappen executed an undercut strategy by pitting earlier than Perez to gain an advantage. This allowed him to take the lead and ultimately win the race.
Why did Perez lose his podium position?
Perez spun out due to heavy rain late in the race, costing him his second-place position. He also received a penalty for pitlane speeding, further affecting his race outcome.
How did Perez view the team’s strategy?
Perez praised the team’s call for an early pit stop, which put him in a good position. However, the anticipated rain didn’t arrive, affecting the outcome of their strategy.
What caused the chaotic start of the race?
The rain shower on the opening lap caused a chaotic start to the race, leading to quick decisions and changing conditions that influenced the race’s outcome.