Perez “took himself out” in lap one incident – Verstappen

Max Verstappen believes Sergio Perez only had himself to blame for the pair’s lap one incident at the Portuguese Grand Prix which forced the latter to spin and drop to last place.

Verstappen finished in third behind record-breaking race winner Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, with Perez winning Driver of the Day honours as he impressively recovered to seventh.

After the Dutchman’s unsuccessful charge to get past Valtteri Bottas off the line at Portimão, the opportunistic Perez pulled alongside him to take advantage but collided with the Dutchman and spun off.

“It was very low grip,” Verstappen reflected on Sunday’s hectic first act that saw Carlos Sainz briefly taking the lead.

“I just tried to stay out of trouble. Of course, I had a little touch with Sergio but he didn’t give me enough space so he basically took himself out. From there onwards, it was raining a little bit so [I was] just trying to keep the car on the track.

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“Once everything was stabilised I overtook the McLaren. They had a lot of grip on the first lap, I don’t know how. And then I did my own race. I think once I went onto the medium tyre we had good pace, but of course then the gap is already so big that you can’t really do anything.”

Starting on the soft tyre compared to the Mercedes‘, who were on the medium compound, Verstappen quickly lost ground after the opening laps.

Pitting for medium tyres while the Mercedes duo was on the hard compound, Verstappen still struggled but admitted an alternative tyre strategy simply would not have mattered against the dominant W11.

He added: “They were on the hard tyre. I think that tyre was not amazing. Today I think the medium tyre was definitely the best tyre.

“So it wouldn’t have mattered [if] I would’ve started on the medium because then I would’ve lost more time on the hard. Overall I think we finished where we deserved.”

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