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F1 | Qatar GP | Perez’s redemption drive narrows the gap for the Constructors Championship

After starting out of the top-10, the Mexican managed a great recovery drive finishing fourth and gaining precious points for the title.

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F1 | Qatar GP | Perez’s redemption drive narrows the gap for the Constructors Championship
Fuente imagen: Hasan Bratic - MotorLAT

To many’s surprise, Sergio Perez’s was eliminated from Q2 during Saturday’s qualifying session. He started P11 with both Mercedes provisionally being in the top three – although Bottas was eventually handed a three-place penalty for failing to respect a single waved yellow flag.

Starting out of the top ten, Perez had one big advantage over the rest of the cars ahead of him in the sense that he can choose his starting tyre compound, opening up more strategic opportunities for the driver who is notoriously good on his tyres.

By lap 30, the Mexican was already up in front fighting for the podium, which he would have probably achieved if it wasn’t for a dramatic sequence of events at the end of the Grand Prix.

“We managed to recover from qualifying and moved through the grid quickly from P11," said the Mexican, "we were in a very good position to be on the podium but unfortunately it didn’t work out".

Indeed, the last few laps saw the collapse of several tyres – including Bottas’, Russell’s, Norris’ and Latifi’s. The latter wasn’t able to drive till the pits entrance and had to his car at the border of track, causing the deployment of a Virtual Safety Car on lap 55.

"Ultimately, I think from a Team point of view we had to play it safe with the constructors in mind," commented Perez at the end of the race.

> Read the full race report: Hamilton wins dramatic Qatar GP, as tyre failures hit several drivers on the final few laps

Tyres failures and the VSC marked the end of Perez’s chances of reaching and overtaking Fernando Alonso, who finished the race in third place.

Perez further commented on the Grand Prix saying: "It was a very exhausting race, I was flat out the whole time, overtaking and pushing. We were changing our strategy throughout the race; at some stages, we were going for one-stop and at others two, but others’ tyres were exploding so we had to protect ours to prevent getting a puncture and maximise our position in the Constructor’s Championship".

"I think we had the podium in our pocket but for the second week running a virtual safety car has potentially cost us.

"I don’t know if without it we would have definitely caught up with Fernando, but we would have been close. It is a bit of a shame but we managed to minimise the damage from Saturday and Valtteri didn’t score any points which is a big benefit to us. 

"Where we have finished today is a good result for the Team and the longer-term picture, we just have to keep pushing hard and improve our performance in the next two races. Now I am looking forward to Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi because we are going to give it everything, we have a big chance to come on top of the Constructor’s Championship, there is five points in it, it’s all to play for and that is the target,” he concluded. 

Despite not reaching the podium, with Bottas forced to retire his car after a puncture and an alleged engine failure, Perez’s fourth place and Verstappen’s P2 allow Red Bull to reduce their gap to Mercedes in the Teams’ Standings.

Mercedes currently has 546,5 points while the Honda-powered team has only five points less, standing at 541,5. The battle has just become fiercer.

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