Perez says lowly P9 in Russia due to ‘extremely unlucky’ race

Sergio Perez says his disappointing run to P9 in last weekend’s Russian Grand Prix unfolded over an “extremely unlucky” afternoon.

On paper, Perez crossing the checkered flag seven places behind his runner-up Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen who had launched his race from the back row of the grid, suggests the Mexican was thrashed in Sochi.

But an analysis of the circumstances that marked the Red Bull driver’s race tells a very different story as Perez was on course for a podium finish when his race fell apart five laps from the end when the rain blew in.

“Yes it’s obviously very disappointing,” he admitted. “I think we were extremely unlucky today.

“Could have gone either way really, you know. If it rained a little bit less, then the people on the inters would have [suffered]. If it rained a bit more, it obviously favoured them.

“I think at the point I was on the lap, it was a little bit too late to know, you know – the amount of rain we were going to have as well – so we were already on the podium, it was a tricky decision to make.”

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Ultimately, Perez and his team made the call to pit on lap 50, or three laps from the checkered flag and two laps after Verstappen’s timely switch to the inters, a decision that pushed him all the way down to ninth, just behind Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen.

But the late downpour and belated pit stop weren’t the only spanners jammed into the Mexican’s works. Earlier in the race, Perez had lost nearly nine seconds during his first pitstop as his Red Bull crew struggled with the procedure, just as they had with Verstappen at Monza earlier this month.

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Perez was asked whether Red Bull was struggling with its new pitstop processes following the recent introduction by the FIA of a technical directive aimed at slowing down the often lightning-fast stops for safety reasons.

“No, I think we just have to see what went wrong, the boys have been doing really quick pitstops, so I think we just have to see what’s going on there and hopefully we are able to fix it going forwards,” he said.

“It’s a bit disappointing for myself but, yes, we just look forward onto the next one because we’ve shown pretty good pace this weekend.”

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