Can we talk about team orders within the Red Bull team in Azerbaijan again? Although Sergio Pérez has taken the lead in the Grand Prix since his start, the fifteenth lap of the race saw Verstappen take control in a (short) duel between the two team cars hit by bulls. If the difference in pace between the two drivers gave little doubt about the outcome of this battle, a radio message came to question the real possibilities of defense of Sergio Perez against Verstappen. Upon arrival, Christian Horner wanted to explain the purpose of the letter sent to the Mexican in Baku.
“2018 is not so far in our minds”
While Ferrari seeks to solve its own problems, Red Bull remains a success. Again on Sunday, the Austrian team soon took the lead in the race, first for Sergio Pérez, then Verstappen in the fifteenth lap. If the Dutchman fell on the Mexican while the laps followed one another, this famous loop fifteen quickly set the trend for the rest of the Grand Prix. Verstappen was too fast for the Ferraris, but also for Pérez. However, his teammate still had to suffer the famous “No Racing” of his team, when the world champion took his aspiration. An almost classic instruction in the world of F1, but which always raises questions when it comes to the head of a Grand Prix.
“The difference in pace between the two drivers was too great, explains Christian Horner. We talked about it a little earlier and they said, “If you go against each other, give yourself some space,” and that’s what they did. You know, 2018 is not so far in our minds, so it’s very important that drivers at this stage of the championship are respected, because our priority is to maximize points against Ferrari. We know they have a fast car, we know how fast things can turn. As a team, we have to prioritize it. »
READ ALSO: Max Verstappen, winner in Baku: “An incredible pace”
Even beyond this instruction which was not really one, the rhythm shown by Verstappen was too important for the Mexican to contain. It seems that the winner of the Monaco Grand Prix was too greedy at the start, trying to quickly distance himself from Charles Leclerc, relegated to second place after the first corner. But a difference in the configuration of the two cars in Baku could also be one of the reasons for the opposite rhythm between the two partners, as Horner explains:
“Looking back, coming to the end of this weekend, there may have been too much weight behind their setup in the standings [de Checo], in view of the deterioration of the rear tires he experienced, details. It’s one thing to watch because Max had a better pace than Checo at the end of his first stage. »
“It was just a matter of the faster and slower car. Max had a major advantage at the time, and Checo had a big deterioration in his tires.”
“We asked them not to push us against the wall, especially if one car is faster than the other.” Let’s focus on getting the best result for the team. ” “He knows it’s a long championship. He’s in the form of a race, coming back from Monaco and his performance in the standings.”
Precisely in this small game, the Mexican is making a major comeback to play the lead roles. After winning his first race of the year in Monaco, Pérez also proved that he could beat his teammate in the standings, and regain credit in the eyes of a team that has spent many seasons focused almost exclusively on Verstappen. Perez has just beaten Leclerc in the championship (129 points to 116), and the Canadian Grand Prix, in just six days, could allow him to confirm his good form so far.
The pass that sealed the fifth victory of the Verstappen season
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