'Game Over': Perez Reveals Where He 'Paid Price' In China

Tuesday, 23 April 2024 at 23:00
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Red Bull Racing driver Sergio Perez discussed his P3 result after the fifth round of the 2024 season at Shanghai International Circuit.
Sergio Perez managed to put in the second-fastest qualifying time and secured a front-row lockout for the Red Bull Racing team going into the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix.
The Mexican driver got himself into a bit of a problematic situation as he lost one position to Fernando Alonso after the start of the race, but he was able to overtake the Aston Martin pretty soon and start putting a gap between him and the rest of the field behind.
The 34-year-old was running in second place, three seconds ahead of the McLaren driver Lando Norris, when his team decided to call him into the pit lane at the end of lap number 12.
At that point, it seemed like we would witness yet another one-two finish from Red Bull, but the two subsequent safety cars that were triggered around lap 20 put Checo at a disadvantage compared to Norris, who hadn't stopped before them.
During the second safety car, it became clear that finishing the race on fresh, hard compound tires was the best option, so Checo had to pit again and came out behind Charles Leclerc and Norris.
As the race restarted, the Mexican driver struggled to get ahead of Leclerc. Once he did, he couldn't catch up with the McLaren driver (who should have had a slower car) until he crossed the finish line in P3.
Speaking to the media after the race, the Red Bull driver suggested he and Norris had the same pace once he damaged his tires by fighting Leclerc, which meant it was "game over."

"We basically had the same pace. Once you go by the car ahead and you stop fighting for I don't know how many laps we ended up fighting between Charles and myself, then it's really game over."

"You use so much of your tire. You put so much energy into them that they never really come back. It's quite a high-degradation place and I paid the price.

The 34-year-old received support from his team principal, Christian Horner, who said he would have finished in P2 had it not been for the misfortune with the safety car.