Sergio Perez: Sainz would have won even if Verstappen hadn't crashed

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez believes Carlos Sainz would have won the Australian Grand Prix even if Max Verstappen had finished the entire race

by Sededin Dedovic
Sergio Perez: Sainz would have won even if Verstappen hadn't crashed
© Peter Fox / Getty Images

Carlos Sainz won the Australian Grand Prix with Charles Leclerc finishing second, giving Ferrari its first double win since the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix. Max Verstappen was forced to retire due to brake problems and Sergio Perez finished fifth.

In the first two races he brought Red Bull two second places, but in Australia he did not do so well. He finished third in qualifying and would probably have been in contention for the win after Verstappen's withdrawal, but earned a grid penalty that wasn't really his fault

Perez convinced that Sainz would win

Sergio Perez is convinced that Sainz would have won even if Verstappen had not retired.

"I think as a team we just didn't have the speed today," Perez said. "We didn't have speed all weekend. We were already struggling from Friday and we never managed to solve the tire problem," he added. We struggled from the start, we could see that Ferrari and McLaren were one step ahead of us.

I think we just couldn't find the balance of the car. We still have work to do for the upcoming races." Perez was completely honest and revealed all the problems that lay ahead for his team and it seems that Sainz's victory was not so much a coincidence.

Race winner Carlos Sainz of Spain and Ferrari, Second placed Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari and Third placed Lando Norris© Bill Murray / Getty Images

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner revealed that after overtaking Fernando Alonso, Perez got one of the discarded visors stuck in part of the floor, causing a loss of downforce.

"We were going to stay a long time on the track and his speed, when he was working his way through the order on the hard tires, as he was closing in on Fernando, it was strong and matched the speed of the leaders. And then, literally as he passed Fernando, he picked up a discarded visor that got stuck in the floor area, which caused a significant loss of downforce." "So, since Fernando passed, the car is not working as it should.

Then you start to notice the tire degradation, again at the end of the next stage, which is unusual for our cars. I think the loss was more than 20 points," Horner said. . Verstappen's retirement was a huge frustration for Red Bull.

The Dutchman won pole position and was leading the race when brake problems forced him to retire. "It was a shame," Horner said. "Max was in great form and I think he had a chance to win."

Ferrari delighted with the result

Ferrari, on the other hand, was delighted with his result.

Sainz's win was his third in his career and first outside of pole position. Leclerc's second position meant Ferrari took maximum points at the Australian Grand Prix. "This is a fantastic result for the team," said Mattia Binotto, Ferrari team principal.

"We are very proud of Carlos and Charles. They showed great driving all weekend."

Race winner Carlos Sainz of Spain and Ferrari and Second placed Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari attend the press conferenc© Clive Mason / Getty Images

Carlos Sainz registered his third career victory, the 86th time in Ferrari history that cars have finished first and second.

However, unlike the previous victories, this time it was completely unexpected, which gives the victory of the Italian team an additional beauty. Sainz, despite the problems he had and the lack of training, dominated the extremely demanding race and once again drew attention to himself.

The Italians write that in just one weekend he showed what he is capable of and point out that he will be very desirable to the teams in the next year. Ferrari has written him off for 2025 and Sainz can now choose where to continue his career.

"I haven't set myself any deadlines for deciding who I will drive with. I want to give myself time to choose the best option. Of course, we talk a little bit with everyone" - Sainz revealed last week. One of the options is Sauber, which doesn't look too attractive at the moment, but in two years it will officially become the Audi team, which has bought 100 percent of the shares and is carrying out a deep reorganization ahead of its debut in 2026.

The possibility of Sainz going to Mercedes should not be written off, Toto Wolff often changes people in his team, so it is not impossible to realize a direct replacement of Hamilton and Sainz. A return to Red Bull should certainly not be ruled out among the options, but the question is what are the relations with the former team.

Sainz, like Verstappen, grew up in the junior team founded by Helmut Marko. The Australian Grand Prix was a clear indication that Ferrari is a serious rival to Red Bull this year, but it may have changed the opinion of the team management when it comes to Sainz.

The double win in Melbourne gave Ferrari a strong start to the season and fueled hopes of finally winning the Formula 1 title and all the credit goes to Sainz.

Red Bull Carlos Sainz Max Verstappen