Sergio Perez pokes cheeky dig at F1 rivals after nail-biting Alonso battle

Sergio Perez has suggested that his last-lap battle with Fernando Alonso at the Brazilian Grand Prix would only be possible with “very few drivers” on the F1 grid. The Red Bull driver ultimately missed out on a podium place by a matter of metres.

After carving through both Mercedes drivers and Alonso’s team-mate Lance Stroll, Perez found himself staring at the rear wing of the Aston Martin driver for the final stint of the race. However, for 15 laps the Spaniard defended valiantly despite his rival having DRS assistance on every lap.

Checo finally made his move on the penultimate lap heading into Turn 1, squeezing his RB19 into a tiny gap on the inside. Alonso attempted to fight back into Descida do Lago but to no avail.

Most expected the Mexican to check out into the distance, but Alonso hung onto DRS out Juncao, faking a move to the inside as the pair moved onto the final lap of the race. With Perez out of position in the Senna ‘S’, the two-time world champion set up the podium-winning move down the Reta Oposta.

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Perez fought back himself as the two drivers exited Juncao for the final time, tucking into the slipstream with DRS assistance. The RB19 closed in on Alonso who stood firm to claim his eighth podium of the season. The pair were separated by half-a-tenth at the chequered flag.

Speaking about his race, Perez explained: “It took me a while to get through the Mercedes and basically that damaged my race. After that, we were always a bit on the backfoot with Fernando and we were chipping away towards the end. We came really close to getting to the podium.

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“But I have to say well done to Fernando because it was [a] great fight. Very fair racing. And that’s really good because [of] how hard we race each other with always a lot of room, I think with very few drivers, you can do this on the grid.

“You know that Fernando will always try to play any game, but he will always be fair. It was great racing. I think whoever got the podium was well-deserved, and he got it. I don’t think I could have done anything differently. I would have liked to be on the podium, it hurts losing, but I’m happy for Fernando because he did a good race.”

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