Alexander Wurz believes that Sergio Perez was right to speak up and voice his annoyance with how he was treated differently on track to Max Verstappen during the Spanish Grand Prix.
The Mexican driver ceded position without complaint to Verstappen after the reigning World Champion slid off the track early in the race, freeing up Verstappen to attack Mercedes’ George Russell for second place.
With Verstappen unable to pass due to a constant DRS (Drag Reduction System) issue, Perez pitted and, later in the Grand Prix, caught back up on the duel. Requesting a swap with Verstappen in order to ensure his strategy wasn’t compromised too much, Perez was told to hold station – much to his annoyance.
As Perez committed to a two-stop strategy, this proved to be the less optimal strategy as Verstappen used the three-stop to come back at his teammate late in the race – a fight that Perez didn’t make difficult for his teammate.
Speaking after the event, Perez spoke about how he wanted some “internal talks” at Red Bull to better understand the situation, having been under the impression he could race for victories at this early point of the season.
Wurz: Perez has shown he’s a team player
Grand Prix Drivers’ Assocation chairman Alexander Wurz said he fully supports Perez’s stance of annoyance, saying the Mexican driver has shown that he’s perfectly willing to play the team game when required.
“He’s fully right to talk,” Wurz told the F1 Nation podcast.
“I mean, he is a mega team
player. To an extent, at some points, I thought he’s actually too easily
accepting some of their orders.
“Because you need to be a bit
edgy, you need to put your elbows out. He proved for the team he was
fighting for the World Championship in Abu Dhabi for Max – [he was]
Perez right to “raise his voice”, says Wurz
Wurz pointed out that Perez had done absolutely everything the team
had asked of him, and had his strategy compromised by being told to hold
“Today, I felt it was right [for him] to raise his
voice,” he said.
“He executed as the team asked him. He came out with new tyres,
and he had to hold back when, actually, the race was critical for him
and to use the new tyres, the new rubber, for fast lap times.
“At this point, he had to stay back, so this is when you get cranky as a driver.
been in this situation and it’s not cool, but give him credit. He
executed [it] but, rightly, he asks for his rights as well.
“It’s good to see at the end of the day. Nevertheless, he had to accept the second position behind Max.”