Jolyon Palmer has explained how pivotal Sergio Perez's defence against Lewis Hamilton was in the Turkish Grand Prix, as the race result could potentially have been very different if Hamilton had overtaken.
The seven-time World Champion came up against the Mexican on Lap 35 of the race, resulting in a tough battle between the pair. Perez was even forced to go wide near the bollard at the pit lane entry at one stage, but managed to maintain position ahead of Hamilton.
Palmer believes that, if Hamilton had managed to get ahead of the Red Bull driver, the rest of his afternoon could have changed significantly, so much so that he might have been able to avoid the pit call dilemma that affected him during the final stages of the Grand Prix.
"Often in Formula 1 these days it can feel futile when a driver is clinging on to a position for dear life against a car that is much faster, and with a good chunk of the race to go," Palmer wrote in his column for Formula1.com. "But Perez's fight was absolutely worth his while.
"Had Hamilton completed the overtake, he could have gone after [Charles] Leclerc. He also would have been more open to pitting as well, with the track position over Perez, and potentially finished on the podium.
"Perez's defence may have effectively earned [Max] Verstappen an extra five or six points by the time Mercedes failed to make inroads in the rest of the race."
Palmer thinks this highlights the important role that the 'second' drivers can play in the title fight between Hamilton and Verstappen.
"Perez hasn't got qualifying pace at the moment, but he has got race pace and has shown an absolute willingness to throw some punches at Hamilton on Sundays if he's given half an opportunity," the former F1 driver said.
"This season so far the duo out front in the title race have just been too good, and really in another league from their teammates. Hamilton has only finished behind Perez twice now, while Turkey was, incredibly, the first time all year that Verstappen has finished a race behind [Valtteri] Bottas.
"While the number twos have been ineffective at taking points off their rivals thus far, Turkey illustrated how useful it can be.
"With Bottas hitting some consistent form at the moment, and Perez looking to regain his mojo, it could make a deciding difference to the tightest title battle in years."
F1 Podcast: Do Mercedes need to assert more authority over Hamilton?
It's time for the latest episode of the RacingNews365 podcast, with F1 journalists Dieter Rencken, Thomas Maher and Mike Seymour discussing Lewis Hamilton's strategy drama and much, much more from the Turkish Grand Prix.