Ex-team boss claims ‘questionable’ tactics used against Sergio Perez at Red Bull

Jamie Woodhouse
Red Bull driver Sergio Perez grimaces as he prepares for the start of the Miami Grand Prix. Miami, May 2023.

While ex-F1 team owner Gian Carlo Minardi waxed lyrical about the Dutch GP performance of Max Verstappen, he does believe Red Bull used “questionable tactics” against team-mate Sergio Perez.

The first heavy downpour caused chaos at the start, with drivers forced over to the wet tyre compounds before a crossover back to the slicks, Red Bull during this exchange sparking suggestions that they had favoured Verstappen over Perez.

The early call from Perez to ditch the slick tyres saw him inherit a comfortable race lead, but as Verstappen then set about obliterating that buffer, Red Bull brought Verstappen in first with the undercut getting him out ahead of Perez and into the lead of the race.

Gian Carlo Minardi counters Red Bull denial of favouritism

It was a lead which Verstappen did not relinquish despite a torrential downpour later in the race which was red flagged for a time, with Red Bull boss Christian Horner explaining afterwards that Verstappen’s sheer pace on his out-lap had caught them by surprise, rather than the team having been trying to get the Dutchman ahead of Perez.

Minardi though it seems is not buying that one.

“Despite the three-week summer break, Red Bull and Max Verstappen confirmed they are unbeatable in every track condition,” the former Minardi F1 team owner wrote fortheir website.

“Once again Verstappen took home the win without making the slightest mistake, outclassing his team-mate on whom questionable tactics were adopted.”


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With Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso going on to claim P2, Perez looked set to score a P3 finish, but a five-second penalty issued for speeding in the pit lane dumped him off the podium as Alpine’s Pierre Gasly inherited his spot.

Minardi then commented on how without Verstappen factored into the equation, the fight behind in F1 2023 is actually a very “lively” one.

“It was also an excellent performance by Fernando Alonso who found himself in second place on the podium,” Minardi commented.

“At the restart he tried to worry the leader who, as always when needed, put on show his worth and that of his car. In any case, he can console himself with second place and the fastest lap of the race.

“Without the Dutchman we would have witnessed a hard fought and extremely lively World Championship with a lot of interchange. Behind him we saw once again Aston Martin after a less favourable period.

“Fifth place for Carlos Sainz who once again put in difficulty his team-mate [Charles Leclerc] who was the protagonist of a mistake in free practice. The retirement [due to floor damage] cancelled the mistake in the pit stop.

“There were also mistakes by McLaren, but both [Lando] Norris and [Oscar] Piastri managed to recover to still finish in the points zone. There was also a nice comeback carried out by Lewis Hamilton, sixth behind the Ferrari driver.”

Verstappen though continues his march towards a third World Championship title, having extended hislead over Perezto 138 points.

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