Helmut Marko believes that a key “mistake” cost Sergio Perez time after the Mexican lost out on P2 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Perez had gone into the race on level points with Charles Leclerc as the pair battled for second place in the World Championship behind Max Verstappen.
While Leclerc opted for a one-stop strategy in the Grand Prix, Perez went for a two-stop and made his second visit to the pits relatively early.
The Red Bull driver cut into Leclerc’s lead over him in the latter stages of the race, but ultimately was unable to reach the Monegasque who claimed P2, while the win went to Verstappen.
Perez ended the day in third, meaning that the Milton Keynes-based squad missed out on clinching their first ever 1-2 in the Drivers’ Championship.
Marko not losing sleep over Perez missing out on P2
Despite the team failing to secure what would have been a debut achievement for them, Marko is not losing any sleep over it following a hugely successful campaign for Red Bull.
“With a season like that? 17 wins and both titles? Then you should be more than satisfied,” the team advisor told Austrian broadcaster Servus TV.
“The two-stop was the right choice with Perez, but what surprised us was that Ferrari were much better than expected in terms of tyre wear.
“[Carlos] Sainz lived up to our predictions, but Leclerc did not!”
Perez’s battle with Hamilton cost him, says Marko
Perez’s first pit-stop of the 58-lap race came on Lap 16, with Marko suggesting that the driver had to make an early stop after pushing his tyres during the opening stint.
He then made his second visit to the pits on Lap 34, and soon afterwards found himself in a battle with the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton. Marko thinks that this cost Perez time.
“It was very tight in the end, but Perez made a mistake in the first phase of the race: he pushed too hard with his tyres and we had to overtake him earlier than planned,” Marko said.
“Later he tried to overtake Hamilton, but was then immediately overtaken back. That cost him 1.3 seconds. It could have been more exciting as a result!”