Red Bull’s Sergio Perez sensed a chance of victory in Miami, but problems with his power unit ended all hope of that.
Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc were the lead drivers during the Miami Grand Prix and best placed to challenge for the win. But behind that duo, Carlos Sainz and Perez were far from absent from that conversation.
Perez in particular was looking threatening in P4 as he tried to clear Sainz.
But just as Perez was getting in prime position for an attack, he suddenly slowed and lost around six seconds to Sainz.
It turned out to be a sensor problem and although Red Bull were ultimately able to get Perez almost back up to full speed, the damage was done – Perez revealing he was still around “10kmh down on the straights” for the rest of the race from that point.
Perez was brought back into play with a Safety Car later in the race, allowing him to stop for fresh medium tyres, although overshooting a lunge down the inside of Sainz at Turn 1 was as close as he got to making the podium.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner said post-race that without that sensor playing up, Perez could have made it a Red Bull one-two, Verstappen having gone on to win the Miami Grand Prix.
“We had a sensor issue on Checo’s engine,” Horner confirmed to Sky Sports F1.
“The guys did well to move them around, but he lost probably 30 horsepower with that.
“He was losing half a second a lap, so I think without that he might even have been second with the tyre advantage because we pitted him – he had that grip advantage over the Ferraris.”
But never mind P2, Perez went one better, suggesting victory would have been a possibility without those gremlins creeping in.
“With a normal engine, I would have had a chance,” he confirmed, quoted by Motorsport.com.
But even with his tyre advantage, that ailing straight-line speed meant Perez simply could not get a move done on Sainz after the race restarted, so Leclerc and Verstappen stayed out of reach.
“I was in a great spot,” Perez said. “Unfortunately, even with DRS, I couldn’t get close to Carlos, the deficit on the straight-line was quite high.
“I was just pushing really hard to stay close to him in the corners. My tyres were overheating. As soon as I had a little opportunity, I went for it. It was too dirty off line.
“After that I just couldn’t get close. The deficit on the straight line was too much.”
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