Sergio Perez was named driver of the day at Silverstone after a brilliant recovery drive to claim second place in the British Grand Prix
Sergio Perez closed the gap to championship leader and Red Bull Racing team-mate Max Verstappen with a brilliant second place at the British Grand Prix on Sunday, with the Dutchman limping home seventh.
In an action-packed race at Silverstone, both the Tilbrook-built cars suffered damage in the early stages and they fell down the order. Perez took front wing damage when he and Charles Leclerc came in touch on the opening lap, and he fell to the back when he pitted for a new nose.
The debris from the collision is believed to be the cause of Verstappen’s damage a few laps later. After passing Carlos Sainz Jnr for the lead, Verstappen then lost pace heading down Hanger Straight and pitted out of sequence, complaining of instability in the rear of the car. It later transpired he had a huge hole missing in the floor of his RB18.
But while the championship leader fell back from the leaders, Perez’s recovery drive saw him rise through the order and when the safety car came out with 13 laps remaining, he closed onto the back of the leaders in fourth place. A thrilling battle commenced between himself, home favourite Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc - a battle he came out on top of but he was unable to get close to Sainz to claim his first win.
‘Introduce me to the friendly billionaire’ says Dons chairman Winkelman
Dons drawn away to Championship side Watford in Carabao Cup second round
Training ground plans for the Bowl to be resubmitted in a matter of weeks
No rush to get in another striker after Grigg’s injury
MK Dons 1-0 Sutton United - Dons Rated
Verstappen meanwhile managed to hold off a spirited fight from Mick Schumacher in the Haas to claim seventh.
“It is a good day for us and the team after such a messy weekend for us,” said Perez afterwards. “I was so unlucky on the first lap making contact with Charles, I broke my front wing and had to drop to the back. So we had to fight for it and it feels good to have a result like this.
“I enjoyed the racing today a lot, we were fighting hard and fair and it felt like my karting days. Everyone was pushing really hard and going wheel to wheel, my heartrate was pretty high on those last laps. It was a race where it was important not to give up.”
Verstappen added: “Seventh place is a good result considering the damage I had on the car and with Checo on the podium, we’ve scored some good points for the team. I of course had hoped for more but today was just unlucky.
“The whole of the underneath on the left-hand side was ruptured. I hit a huge piece of debris; I think it was carbon. As I was driving it felt like a puncture as I had no balance and a lot of oversteer. The car was a handful to drive, I tried to find a good aero balance but it was difficult.”
The gap between Verstappen and Perez in the championship is now 34 points.