Why Red Bull believe Perez’s conservative start to race hurt him in Miami · RaceFans

The seeds of Sergio Perez’s defeat in the Miami Grand Prix were sown in the opening stint of the race, his Red Bull team believe.

Despite starting from pole position on the medium tyre compound, Perez failed to pull out a significant lead over team mate Max Verstappen, who closed in on him despite starting from ninth place on the hard tyre compound.

“I think the damage was done to Checo in that first stint and he didn’t have enough of a buffer for later in the race,” Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said afterwards.

Verstappen emerged from the pack of cars which separated him from Perez by lap 15. At that point there was just 3.7 seconds between them, and Verstappen was easily able to draw close to Perez and put him under pressure.

Perez didn’t make a quick getaway after taking the lead

Perez was taking great care with his medium tyres at this stage. So much so that Verstappen was the quicker of the two on every lap from the fourth tour until Perez came into the pits on lap 19.

“The first ten laps [Perez] was very much managing the pace,” said Horner. “I think he was nervous about the front-right.

“As we started to see other teams start to get a bit of graining, I think he was driving well within himself and the car to protect that front-right.”

While Perez replaced his medium tyres after 20 laps, other drivers such as Fernando Alonso and Zhou Guanyu went further on them. Horner suspects Perez needed to increase his pace earlier in the race to stand a chance of out-running his team mate.

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“He started to push after the first 10 laps and started to build a lead. I think probably with 20-20 hindsight, if he looked at the race again he’d push harder in that first stint because the medium tyre actually turned out to be a very good tyre as we saw with Fernando actually going quite a long way.”

However Verstappen’s sheer pace was always going to make it difficult for Perez to contain the threat from his team mate, said Horner.

(L to R): Nico Hulkenberg, Haas; Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Miami International Autodrome, 2023
Verstappen lapped quicker than Perez while passing rivals

“What was truly impressive today was, obviously Checo did a great job converting the start, but Max never dropped more than five-and-a-half seconds behind him despite being in the traffic and then efficiently made the progress through the traffic.

“On that first stint when Checo pitted he was know just over a second, a second-and-a-half behind. And then the real crux of the race was the next 22 laps of Max on the hard tyre basically was a race against the stopwatch and on 20-lap older tyres. That’s where he was truly impressive to match the lap times, sometimes better the lap times of what Checo was able to do. That was where he won the race.”

Verstappen failed to rejoin the track ahead of Perez after his pit stop, due in part to a slightly slow pit stop. However Verstappen lost no time passing his team mate for the lead of the race and was on his way to an emphatic victory.

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2023 Miami Grand Prix lap chart

The positions of each driver on every lap. Click name to highlight, right-click to reset. Toggle drivers using controls below:

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2023 Miami Grand Prix race chart

The gaps between each driver on every lap compared to the leader’s average lap time. Very large gaps omitted. Scroll to zoom, drag to pan and right-click to reset. Toggle drivers using controls below:

2023 Miami Grand Prix lap times

All the lap times by the drivers (in seconds, very slow laps excluded). Scroll to zoom, drag to pan and toggle drivers using the control below:

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2023 Miami Grand Prix fastest laps

Each driver’s fastest lap:

2023 Miami Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

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2023 Miami Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

Rank No. Driver Team Complete stop time (s) Gap to best (s) Stop no. Lap no.
1 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull 21.884 1 20
2 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine 21.942 0.058 1 39
3 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 22.068 0.184 1 17
4 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 22.15 0.266 1 37
5 81 Oscar Piastri McLaren 22.205 0.321 1 5
6 55 Carlos Sainz Jnr Ferrari 22.278 0.394 1 18
7 63 George Russell Mercedes 22.335 0.451 1 17
8 22 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 22.39 0.506 1 36
9 10 Pierre Gasly Alpine 22.417 0.533 1 15
10 23 Alexander Albon Williams 22.482 0.598 1 22
11 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas 22.616 0.732 1 14
12 14 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 22.631 0.747 1 24
13 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 22.651 0.767 1 42
14 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 22.688 0.804 1 45
15 24 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 22.796 0.912 1 31
16 27 Nico Hulkenberg Haas 23.12 1.236 1 33
17 77 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 23.158 1.274 1 15
18 21 Nyck de Vries AlphaTauri 23.487 1.603 1 15
19 4 Lando Norris McLaren 24.09 2.206 1 4
20 2 Logan Sargeant Williams 48.938 27.054 1 2

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2023 Miami Grand Prix

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