Sergio Perez reflects on 'painful' loss of Emilia-Romagna GP podium
"We are a team and we lose and also win together. In hindsight, it was the wrong call today," admits disappointed Perez after extra stop under the late Safety Car drops him off the podium to sixth behind rivals at Imola
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 01/11/20 4:50pm
Sergio Perez described missing out on third place in the Emilia-Romagna GP as "painful" - admitting that Racing Point "basically gave the podium to Ricciardo".
Perez was producing one of the drives of the day at Imola, moving up the field from 11th on the grid after a long first stint, and was promoted to third into the closing stages when Max Verstappen's Red Bull spun out of second place.
The incident triggered a Safety Car but, despite having pitted later than the midfield rivals behind him and so on fresher tyres, Racing Point called Perez in for a second service.
However, the three cars directly behind him - Daniel Ricciardo's Renault, Charles Leclerc's Ferrari, Alex Albon's Red Bull - stayed out and so Perez dropped back to sixth for the restart. He overtook Perez at the restart, but was then overtaken by Daniil Kvyat and gained no further ground.
"Looking at it, it didn't make sense at the time - the call was very late - but it's always easy to take the right decision after the race," said Perez to Sky Sports F1. "But overtaking today was extremely difficult.
"I haven't spoken to the team yet so they must have some reasons on it, but a painful day. We had the podium in the pocket and it's just hard to digest.
"They are as disappointed as I am right now. We are a team and we lose and also win together. In hindsight it was the wrong call today."
Reflecting on his drive up the order, Perez said: "It was a fantastic day. From all the negatives we can take a lot of positives.
"That first stint was tremendous. Great strategy, great calls from the team. We put ourselves in a position to get that podium.
"But, yeah, it is a painful day and also a painful day in the championship. We basically gave the podium to Ricciardo."
So why did Racing Point make the extra stop?
Agreeing with his driver that the lap-51 pit stop was ultimately not required, team boss Otmar Szafnauer explained the pit wall's thinking behind surrendering track position.
"With the benefit of hindsight, we shouldn't have pitted and instead tried staying out on the hard tyre," said Szafnauer.
"We chose to pit because we were concerned it would be difficult to switch on the hard tyres after the safety car. Those cars behind could do the opposite and were able to stay out on their very old tyres, gaining track position. Unfortunately, George Russell's crash resulted in an extended safety car and gave Sergio even less laps to use his tyre advantage."