In a whirlwind of events at the Dutch Grand Prix, Sergio Perez’s fleeting lead quickly slipped through his fingers, sparking questions about Red Bull’s pit stop strategy favoring Max Verstappen. While seasoned F1 analyst Peter Windsor refrains from making a judgment, he is certain that Perez was left disgruntled by the outcome.
As the race commenced, torrential rain forced drivers to swiftly transition to intermediate tires. Notably, Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso opted for intermediates a lap later than their competitors, including Perez, Guanyu Zhou, and Pierre Gasly.
This strategic choice initially bestowed Perez with a comfortable lead of approximately 15 seconds over his Red Bull teammate. It was a promising prospect for the Mexican driver. Enhance your Formula1 viewing experience with attractive F1 betting odds from Nextbet.
Windsor shared his initial thoughts, saying, “Sergio was driving in the lead and had a decent lead over Max. So you think: maybe Sergio is going to win this Grand Prix, this is a serious lead. Given the conditions, this was actually better than pole.”
However, Perez’s time at the front was short-lived as Verstappen, on the green-intermediates, exhibited superior pace, closing the gap rapidly. Over just a few laps, the reigning world champion narrowed Perez’s lead to less than three seconds.
In a strategic move, Verstappen opted for slick tires, initiating an undercut. Perez followed suit a lap later, rejoining the track behind Verstappen. This pit stop strategy precluded a potential showdown between the two Red Bull teammates in treacherous conditions, ultimately working in favor of the Dutchman.
Windsor concludes, “Lucky for Red Bull.” He suggests that Perez might not have taken this twist of fate lightly, speculating, “That won’t have gone down too well in Mexico. I’m sure Sergio was on the radio: ‘Why did you give him that undercut?'”
Windsor acknowledges that whether the pit stop sequence was part of Red Bull’s plan, a coincidence, or a result of Verstappen’s skillful outlap remains uncertain. Moreover, the track’s partial dampness at the time of the pit stops raises questions about the risks involved in having the race leader make such a crucial tire change.
The Dutch Grand Prix served up a tantalizing spectacle, with Verstappen’s pit stop strategy adding a layer of intrigue and debate to an already dramatic race day. Get the latest updates from the world of F1 only on Nextbet Sports.