“No Fighting. » This is the message, clear and concise, that Sergio Pérez was able to receive in the race in Baku today. Checo saw his team-mate Max Verstappen back in his mirrors and Milton Keynes didn’t want to take any risks.
However, it should also be remembered that Max Verstappen had Pirellis in much better condition, and a significant advantage in terms of pace (two seconds per lap). Thus, qualifying this instruction from Sergio Pérez as a race instruction does not seem to be operational.
Christian Horner takes up these arguments while adding another: Red Bull had in mind the fratricidal clash, in Baku precisely, of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo in 2018…
“The difference in pace between the two riders was so big. We had discussed this this morning, “listen, if you’re racing against each other, give yourself space.” And that’s what they did today. »
“2018 is not very far away in our minds. It was therefore very important that the drivers, at this stage of the championship, were fair to each other. »
“Because the priority is to maximize the points against Ferrari. We know they have a very fast car at the moment, we’ve seen how fast things turn out, so as a team we have to prioritize that. »
It is still twice in three races (after Barcelona) that Sergio Pérez has to let Max Verstappen pass.
But Christian Horner therefore refuses to qualify the Azeri instruction as a ‘race instruction’.
“It was strictly not racing instructions. We just had a faster car and a slower car, and Max had a significant advantage. Checo, at that time, had heavy graining on his rear tire. »
“So it’s just a matter of ‘guys, let’s not get into the wall here, if a car is faster, concede it, and let’s focus on getting the best result for the team.’ »
Sergio Pérez himself admitted after the event that Red Bull’s instructions made sense. An attitude welcomed by Christian Horner.
But how to explain his slower running pace compared to Max Verstappen?
“Checo is a mature guy. He sees the big picture and he knows it’s a long, long championship. He is in the best shape of his career, after Monaco and his qualifications yesterday. »
“Perhaps with hindsight, arriving this weekend, we put too much emphasis on qualifying in his settings with the rear degradation he experienced. So that’s something to look at. Max was certainly in better racing form than Checo at the end of his first stint. »