It cannot be said that Sergio Pérez did not achieve the runner-up position in Formula 1 because of Lewis Hamilton, it was all to the credit of Charles Leclerc, but at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix the seven-time world champion was able to apply a soup of his own medicine the Mexican, who in the end took away valuable time from the Red Bull.
Checo Pérez finished third in the Abu Dhabi F1 GP, behind Max Verstappen and, mainly, Charles Leclerc and that meant he lost the opportunity to make it 1-2 in the Drivers’ Championship for the Red Bull team.
The main reasons for this result were, firstly, the great degradation suffered by Checo Pérez on the first set of tires he used in the race.
The means went very quickly for the man from Guadalajara and after having taken more than three seconds ahead of Leclerc’s Ferrari, his rhythm fell apart and he entered the pits prematurely, just on lap 14.
Then, the two-stop strategy did not reach Checo Pérez, but there the merit was the handling and management of Charles Leclerc, who managed to have rhythm and gentleness with his tires.
Now, there were a couple of obstacles that created difficulties for Checo Pérez.
HAMILTON MADE A ‘MINISTRY OF DEFENSE’
Checo Pérez entered the pits on lap 33 of the agreed 58 with the mission of making the hard tires give him to subtract more than 18 seconds from Charles Leclerc to stay with the runner-up.
Between him and the Monegasque were Carlos Sainz, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, but quickly only the 44 Mercedes remained as the first two pitted.
That was where the track of life once again put Pérez and Hamilton in Abu Dhabi in a situation where one had to pass the other quickly in order to achieve their objective, but there was an act of clean and pure defense.
In 2021, Checo Pérez stopped Lewis Hamilton for two laps so that Max Verstappen could catch up with them and with this, in the long run, prevented the Englishman from going in to refresh his tires. Then, we already know what happened when the Dutchman attacked him on the last lap with new tyres.
Well, in 2022, the karma of motorsport put them in similar situations but in reverse. Checo Pérez had to leave Hamilton behind immediately to go after Leclerc. Now the one who defended himself masterfully was Hamilton.
At the end of the straight Checo Pérez attacked and with the DRS he went over Hamilton and passed him, but in the second detector Lewis counterattacked, allowing him to keep the Mexican at bay for one more turn.
There Checo Pérez lost more than a second. The ones you do on the track, you will normally pay for on the track, not out of malice but because there is always a rematch.
Later, in the last few turns, a desperate Checo Pérez tried to get into Leclerc’s DRS zone, but he ran into a couple of lapped people who are not exactly the drivers who liked Red Bull to hire the Mexican.
We are talking about Alex Albon, who was removed from his seat in 2021 to give it to Checo Pérez, and Pierre Gasly, the Frenchman who clamored for an opportunity to get back on Red Bull and did not miss an opportunity to say that he could do better than the man from Guadalajara .
The little favor they did to Checo Pérez was a bit unnecessary since they were a lap behind, but it was enough to put an end to the Mexican’s hopes.
MAX’S HELP WAS PURE GIRL
The topic is already too tired. What Max Verstappen did not help Checo Pérez in Brazil was forgotten and in the end did not influence, but in Abu Dhabi there was no intention of collaborating directly.
With pole position in hand, some expected Verstappen to give up the first corner to Checo Pérez and then take it upon himself to delay Leclerc. There was no intention of it.
Verstappen set a devastating pace despite managing his tires and going to just one stop and did not see those who were chasing him again.
When the race was ending, Max asked on the radio how Checo Pérez was doing. When they told him he was in third place, he effusively said “go with everything, the tires will hold up”.
Thus, Verstappen’s support remained in words of encouragement, a moral support as fraternal as it was useless.