Sergio Perez said a lack of pace in the first stint of the Miami Grand Prix cost him his chance to beat Max Verstappen for victory.
The pole-winner kept his lead at the start of the race, but only pulled out a modest gap over Fernando Alonso behind him over the opening laps. By lap 15 Verstappen, who started ninth, had passed Alonso for second place.
Verstappen quickly closed on Perez, who pitted as soon as his team mate threated to get within DRS range. Perez regained the lead when his team mate pitted on lap 46, but within two laps Verstappen was back through into the lead.
The Red Bull drivers used contrasting strategies in Miami. While Perez started on the medium tyre compound and switched to hards, Verstappen did the opposite.
Perez admitted afterwards he failed to make up enough time at the start of the race on the medium tyres. “I tried,” he said. “I gave it all.
“I think the first stint was really poor with the graining that we had on that initial pace. And that compromised quite a lot our race because we didn’t have too much of a difference on tyre. And Max was particularly strong today, so a well-deserved win for him.”
He admitted the medium tyre compound didn’t perform as well as they thought it would before the race began.
“I think the medium initially was really poor, more than expected and I think that really compromised our pace,” he said. “And then in all honesty, I think also Max had tremendous pace on the hard tyre and I think I’ve got to analyse what was going on today because we simply didn’t have the pace.”
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