Since Max Verstappen lost the recent Azerbaijan Grand Prix to his teammate Sergio Perez, concerns for Max’s third championship win are gaining momentum. Several F1 pundits tried to figure out what was the reason behind such a defeat. There was not much luck that supported Checo in the victory. Both the Red Bull drivers were on wheels-to-wheels fair battle this time. Perez got faster, and thus he won. But how did he get faster than Max Verstappen? Let’s see what Mark Hughes explains about the matter.
During the qualifying sessions, Max Verstappen‘s RB19 gained all attention as it was the faster car. But in the first sprint race of the season, the Mexican driver was quicker. Perez got the lead in the sprint and in the main race too. Indeed, “Max was not in a comfortable place with the car,” but it just cannot deny the fact that Sergio Perez was unbeatable. Mark explains the scenario of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix as follows:
“Only if Sergio Perez would have been two or three tenths off like he used to several times in the past few years, Max Verstappen would have won the race, despite the issues occurring in the RB19.” Meaning if Checo had not used his potential to the fullest, then Max would have won. Even with a damaged car, Max would have won, but since Checo was the fastest, he surpassed Max in all aspects.
The Tyre Strategy Helped Sergio Perez Take The Lead In The Baku City Circuit
In addition, Hughes pointed out that in terms of raw pace, there was very little between Max and Checo. The Azerbaijan week ended with Max being a tenth or so faster in Friday’s quality and Checo being a tenth quicker on Saturday. However, Perez’s victory in the Baku City Circuit just proved that he is indeed a master of the street tracks.
Speaking of the reasons that actually helped Sergio Perez to manage the win, Hughes mentioned that it was all about managing the tyres. While the Mexican driver did the best job, Max was not even happy sitting in the car, as it was getting a little uncomfortable for him. And the very miraculous thing that happened in between working as a catalyst to Perez’s pace was the Safety Car. After Alfa Tauri’s De Vries’ crash, the safety car took the lead, and that was when Max went to the pits. Before the four laps, the GP race was just revolving around Verstappen Vs. Perez. But after the tyre strategy, Max got a little unlucky as he was pushing hard on his tyres.
Now for those wondering if Sergio Perez could ever win the 2023 world championship, they should know what he himself says. When Viaplay asked him about winning the driver’s championship, he said, “Definitely, I should be leading the year’s championship.” But he is still 6 points behind Max Verstappen, only because he got problems in the Australian Grand Prix. He would have surpassed Max had his car not given unexpected braking issues.