Colin Chapman’s Spirit lives on in Abu Dhabi – Perez the ‘dick’ (as famously coined by a certain former F1 doctor once at TJ13), was indeed transformed into Perez ‘THE ANIMAL’ as he duelled with Sir Lewis at the 2021 F1 title decider in the desert.
He dragged his Dutch team mate back into contention by slowing down Hamilton and reducing his vast lead over Verstappen to just around 1 second.
Red Bull had left Perez out when following them pitting Verstappen – Hamilton covered the move by pitting next lap. This left Sergio ahead of the dominant Mercedes spaceship driver.
Yet many of us were surprised by Perez’s competitiveness when going wheel to wheel with Lewis for over a lap. His car was just as quick as the untouchable Mercedes which has taken 6 shiny new engines this season.
We were even more surprised by the retirement towards the end of the race of gladiator Checho. He was told to retire the car and responded telling the team it felt OK.
By retrieving the car, Red Bull avoid certain scrutinisation post race which could reveal who knows what was hidden under the metaphorical bonnet. Nitros, Tesla power….. we can only marvel at Adrian Newey and Spice Boy’s potential trickery.
Maybe it was just a precautionary move to ensure Perez didn’t break down on track and cause a yellow flag.
Then again, maybe Perez was just short of fuel. A classic trick made by the legend that was Lotus’ Colin Chapman genius owner and designer.
After helping create the era that was probably the truest form of F1 racing in it’s71 year history, I felt the Spirit of Sir Colin live on in the dust of Abu Dhabi – and a probable twist of the infamous moustache – in disgust at the nature of the circuit not fit for such a grand purpose.