Sergio Perez had a pretty ordinary weekend at the 2022 Formula One French GP weekend. In practice one he was a whopping 1.2 seconds slower than his team mate Max Verstappen and practice 2 wasn’t much better. When Checo’s team mate topped the time sheets on Saturday morning the Mexican driver might as well have been sleeping under a cactus wearing a huge sombrero as again he was over a second slower than Max.
Then came qualifying. Q1 was an improvement for Perez as he was just 0.5 seconds off the pace but the number 2 Red Bull driver came alive in Q2. He was P3 and a mere 0.130 seconds behind Verstappen he then continued this form into the top 10 shootout claiming P3 on the grid with a time close to his team mate in P2 ahead.
Sky’s pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz claimed that Christian Horner had expressed obvious frustration with his Mexican driver during a post qualifying interview.
“Checo Perez had difficult weekend but recovered for qualifying,” observed Kravitz.
“I thought Christian Horner was pretty cutting when he said Sergio’s finally ‘turned up’ today, because Friday was pretty awful for poor Checo.”
During the post session interview Red Bull Team boss was asked what Checo had done to dial in the car finally.
With a wry grin, Horner quipped, “Errr….. Checo turned up today.”
“The Checo we had yesterday was obviously working through a few things but he stepped it up a gear today and its great to see him back there right on the pace. Both drivers [are] second and third on the grid – we can do something from there in the race tomorrow.”
A chipper Horner believes Red Bull may have the superior strategy for the weekend over Ferrari. When asked whether his main rivals tyre wear would be high in the race due to their qualifying set up Christian replied; “It’s always that trade isn’t it?”
“And of course what we don’t know standing here and now is how is that going to play out tomorrow? Are they using more energy in the tyre? Over a lap is that going to penalise them over a long run?”
“Or will they be able to maintain it [the pace]? Will we be better off by achieving the lap time in a different way?
“It’s going to be hot, maybe a little windy swell tomorrow….. its going to be a fascinating battle.”
Christian Horner is referring to the fact that Red Bull have set their car up to be super fast down the straights but using a lot less wing than Ferrari. Ferrari have better cornering speed in the high speed corners.
As TJ13 wrote earlier in the weekend, the nature of the Paul Ricard track means the Red Bull car of Verstappen can drive different lines from the Ferrari through the high speed corners. This is mostly due to the ‘lack’ or rear wing, but it does stop the car sliding and degrading theatres though is a little slower than Ferrari.
In Austria Red Bull Racing suffered the greater tyre degradation though they have since ditched the new rear wing they brought there returning to the previous iteration.
Yet there is a key difference in howe the tyres wear between last week and this. Paul Ricard is a front limited circuit ie the front tyres are where the limit of grip is. The Red Bull Ring is rear limited.
And this season Ferrari have suffered higher degradation than Red Bull at front limited circuits.
READ MORE: Ferrari tyre woes hand Red Bull the advantage
Team Owners need to keep their off comments to themselves. First we had Zak “Mr. Personality” Brown spouting off because he feels he paid too much for Riccardo. Now we have Horner complaining about Checo. Since Checo has been on the Team Red Bull Management has been quite satisfied with Checo’s performance. Some times Horner, you know his the car may not be dialed in to his liking or your driver may be having a off day.
There is no way Max and Perez have the same set up and engine speed. Max couldn’t be passed by Lewis yet both Russel and Lewis passed Perez as if he was standing still. Have to feel sorry for Perez, he is being robbed all because of Max