Red Bull team advisor Helmut Marko defends Sergio Perez’s “dangerous driving” at the Abu Dhabi GP.
Perez played the ultimate team game under the lights of Yas Marina, holding up title contender Lewis Hamilton for a long time. This allowed his teammate and the other championship contender Max Verstappen to close the gap to Hamilton.
Without Perez, Verstappen would have never won the race and the championship. His actions were not appreciated by the Mercedes driver, who proceeded to say “some dangerous driving there” on the radio.
Marko defended Perez’s “dangerous driving” and justified it saying it was part of the sport and that his actions were for the benefit of the team.
“He slowed down Hamilton by eight seconds in two laps, but in a very fair way,” the Austrian told ServusTV, as quoted by The Independent.
“Of course (Hamilton) said ‘dangerous driving’ again, we know that.
“(Sergio Perez) is incredibly loyal and a team player. Of course, we have discussed certain scenarios with him and he then delivers them – and without grumbling or any rebellion or questioning.”
Good old Checo
With Verstappen in dire need of a wingman throughout the season, it was time for Perez to step up. Although he didn’t exactly step up to the plate throughout the season, he more than made up for it at Abu Dhabi.
Thanks to him, Verstappen could win his maiden world championship. The race-winning move came on the last lap, where a soft-tyre-equipped Super Max passed Hamilton on old hard tyres to take the lead and cross the line.
The 24-year-old heaped praise on his teammate, and acknowledged his contribution towards the win.
“What (Sergio Perez) did is incredible,” he said.
“That also made our race in the end because Mercedes couldn’t stop at the Safety Car. Without Checo, of course, I wouldn’t have become World Champion.”