Monday, August 2

Checo Pérez smiles and finishes third in the French Grand Prix


Verstappen and Checo Pérez celebrate after the French GP.
Verstappen and Checo Pérez celebrate after the French GP.YVES HERMAN / Reuters

Checo Pérez begins to get used to the podium. The Mexican finished third in the French Grand Prix, in a race in which Red Bull beat Mercedes. Max Verstappen was left with the victory over Lewis Hamilton. Pérez already masters the red buffalo car. The new kid’s mistakes were left behind. The Mexican was stronger than Valtteri Bottas in the hypnotic Paul Ricard circuit and now has his twelfth podium in Formula 1.

Checo Pérez had a slow start despite starting from fourth position. The Red Bull rider had trouble defending his position against Carlos Sainz Jr.’s Ferrari and it was that battle that kept him from directly attacking Valtteri Bottas, third, and began to see him further and further away. At the top, Max Verstappen went off the track in the middle of the start, leaving everything to Lewis Hamilton.

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It was a direct battle between Red Bull and Mercedes, the championship leaders in Formula 1. While Verstappen escaped Hamilton, Bottas marked his distance against the Mexican. Lap by lap, the Mercedes lost pace. The stops in the pits they are key to Red Bull’s strategy: on lap 18 Bottas and Verstappen changed tires. That seemed to be a good sign for Hamilton who also decided to change tires and put Checo Pérez as the leader of the race, a guy who knows how to take care of tires.

When Hamilton came out of the pitsVerstappen denied him overtaking and the position favored, with that movement, Red Bull. The positions had turned upside down: Pérez, Verstappen, Hamilton and Bottas. Checo’s lead lasted until lap 24 when he entered the pits and fell back to fourth position.

In a change of strategy, Verstappen pitted again in the lap 32. It was time to seek greater speed. Pérez, in a gesture of camaraderie and logic at Red Bull, gave him third place in the race without problems. The Mercedes began to have problems with the tires. It was time for Red Bull.

In 49, Pérez managed to overtake Bottas thanks to great tire care and, of course, the power of the engine. The Mexican endured in the end to embitter the Finn. And Verstappen, in the last two laps, took everything from Hamilton. End of the game.

“It was difficult to stay behind [en la mayor parte de la carrera]. It was a great race, a great strategy for the team ”, said Pérez at the end of the race. Red Bull, for the first time this season, managed to get its two drivers on the podium with first place from Verstappen and third from Checo Pérez. The Mexican, in addition, also remains in the third position in the drivers’ championship above Bottas.

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