Now the hullabaloo over that fantastic battle between Fernando
Alonso and Sergio Perez in the Sao Paulo Grand Prix over third
place has died down a little, the fact remains that Perez should
never have been anywhere near Alonso on track. The Mexican was one
of a handful of drivers to be caught out by a yellow flag for Oscar
Piastri’s off in Q3 just as that biblical storm prepared to unleash
itself and make Interlagos itself a lake. Even though his lap was
not his best, Max Verstappen was on pole but Perez felt the pace
was there for a front-row slot. Given he had to lift for Piastri,
it’s just one of those things when everyone is racing the weather.
His start in the Grand Prix and early stint was fantastic as well,
slicing both Mercedes’ to run fourth behind Verstappen, Lando
Norris and Alonso – with the front two having cleared well off into
the distance. It quickly became clear the final podium spot would
be going to either Alonso or Perez – and the Red Bull was the
overwhelming favourite to do it. Perez’s failure in Brazil After
the second stops to Soft tyres, there were over 20 laps for Perez
to close a three-second or so distance to Alonso and ease away into
the distance. But through some canny driving, Alonso was
positioning the car differently around the lap to throw Perez off
where he was weak, but the fact remains, on Soft tyres, a Red Bull
RB19 should be breezing past an Aston Martin AMR23. If it was
Verstappen hunting down Alonso, if he couldn’t get the move done on
the first opportunity, he’d have done so within three laps. Having
to depend on a drag race, dumping all the energy possible up the
hill to snatch a podium spot just isn’t on – as was going for the
move when he did, knowing Alonso would come straight back at him on
the run through Turn 3 and into Turn 4. In the end, by 0.053s,
Alonso prevailed, but really, he should have been nowhere near
Perez who failed to get the best out of his class-leading equipment
once again. However, coupled with Lewis Hamilton’s quiet disaster
on his way to eighth, Perez now enjoys a 32-point lead over the
Mercedes driver in their quest for runner-up in the Drivers’. The
eight points he pulled out on Hamilton all but secure P2 for the
Red Bull driver and would tick just about the last remaining box
for what the team hasn’t done in F1.

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