Perez: Hamilton "caught me at my worst time" in Turkey duel

Red Bull's Sergio Perez says Lewis Hamilton "caught me at my worst time" during the Turkish Grand Prix Formula 1 as he kept the Mercedes driver at bay after an "intense" battle.

Perez: Hamilton "caught me at my worst time" in Turkey duel

On a wet track, Hamilton was trying to carve his way back through the field after a grid penalty made him start in 11th. By lap 35 Hamilton had moved up to fifth and launched an attack on Perez on Istanbul Park's back straight.

After the pair went wheel-to-wheel through the final corner combination, which almost forced Perez across the pit entry, he managed to hang on to fourth place into Turn 1 and kept Hamilton behind for the remainder of the race.

Perez revealed that Hamilton caught him at the worst possible time as he was struggling to keep his first set of intermediates working beyond the halfway point of the race.

"It was pretty intense at that point, because Lewis really caught me at my worst time of my of my race, because I was struggling so much with my tyres at that point," Perez explained.

"The first stint was so difficult for me, especially towards the end, and Lewis was pretty fast. I think he was at the time the fastest car on track, so to hold him back at that point was pretty challenging.

"We had a good fight, I had to even avoid the bollard on pit entry. But it was a good fight overall, and I managed to stay ahead."

Perez' efforts to fend off Hamilton were invaluable in Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen's title bid against the seven-time world champion.

With Hamilton resigned to fifth, Perez eventually finished behind Verstappen in third, taking his first podium since June's French Grand Prix after a rough patch in his maiden Red Bull campaign.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing, 3rd position, on the podium

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing, 3rd position, on the podium

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Asked if his first top three finish in nine races came as a relief, Perez said a podium had been coming for a while if it hadn't been for a streak of misfortune.

"Honestly, the last few races I've been so unlucky," he replied. "In Monza I finished on the podium, but I had the penalty. In Russia with three laps ago, I was on the podium.

"It's been coming already for many, many races. But certainly it's nice, especially in a race like today where I felt so uncomfortable with the car, and we didn't have quite the pace to match the Mercedes."

On Saturday Perez qualified down in seventh, half a second off Verstappen, after he was left with only one new set of tyres for the decisive Q3 shootout.

It proved a blip on an otherwise more competitive weekend for the Mexican, who believes he has turned a corner in terms of his own performance.

"Yeah, definitely. The whole weekend has been a lot more competitive," he said.

"In qualifying we didn't get the opportunity to show that because we were very aggressive with our strategy, so that put us on the back foot with the soft tyres in qualifying.

"And I think we just needed those couple of tenths that we had in in hand, because we've shown good pace throughout the weekend and I'm sure we could have had a much better qualifying.

"So, certainly I can see that the understanding [is there] and that I'm getting more together with the car."

shares
comments
10 things we learned from F1's 2021 Turkish Grand Prix

Previous article

10 things we learned from F1's 2021 Turkish Grand Prix

Next article

"Useless" hybrid rules shows F1 needs better green push - Vettel

"Useless" hybrid rules shows F1 needs better green push - Vettel
Load comments
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Prime

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? Stuart Codling talks to the man in charge.

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Prime

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Prime

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers Prime

How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory Prime

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Prime

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021
Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems Prime

Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton dominated the opening day of action for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, on the Istanbul circuit’s much improved track surface. But the Black Arrows squad’s position isn’t quite what it seems. Here’s why...

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021