Sergio Perez says change of lead in Spanish GP wasn't team orders

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez has said that he does not feel as though the change in lead at the Spanish Grand Prix towards the end of the race was team orders.

The Mexican was leading the race in Barcelona but was told over the radio that if Max Verstappen caught up to him and was too quick he would have to let him through.

On fresher tyres, it was only a matter of time before Max was right behind, too, and despite Checo’s objections on the radio back he duly let his team-mate past and on to victory.

Some, then, suggested this was team orders in play but Perez has sought to play down those suggestions in comments made since, with him saying that instead the strategies the two drivers were on led to the situation:

“It’s a great result, we are leading the Constructors’ Championship so, although I obviously want to win, I have to be realistic and I am happy with the Team result.

“My frustration on the radio was in the heat of the moment but I need to speak with the Team to understand a few bits from the race. Sometimes when you are driving you can’t get the full picture, so it is a normal thing to debrief things to understand the race.

“The Team momentum couldn’t be any better here, it is a great Team and we are very united. It wasn’t about Team orders today, what really changed my race was going onto different tyre strategies and that worked better for Max and, at the end of the day, the Team because we managed to both get past George. I could have won today but making the two-stop work was difficult and it turned out that the three-stop was the better strategy.

BARCELONA, SPAIN – MAY 22: Sergio Perez of Mexico and Red Bull Racing leads Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing and The Netherlands during the F1 Grand Prix of Spain at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on May 22, 2022 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

“I think we had a very strong race today, the race pace and management from us was great today and it was important not to make mistakes. Hopefully we continue this momentum on to Monaco and are strong next weekend too.”

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