While Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were chasing each other at the front of the field, Sergio Perez was left behind in the early stages of the French Grand Prix, though Helmut Marko says that was always part of the plan
Checo held back in order to attack later in the race, which prevented the Mercedes drivers from going for a second pit stop. It proved to be the right move in the end, as Verstappen took the chequered flag while Perez passed Bottas for third in the final laps.
"Early in the race we decided for a second pit stop for Verstappen, by leaving Perez on the track longer," Marko told Servus TV.
The Mexican came in seven and five laps later than Bottas and Hamilton respectively, and as a result his fresher tyres ensured that a second pit stop was out of the question, or at least not as straightforward for the Mercedes drivers.
This also benefited Verstappen as Perez let his teammate through without hesitation, allowing the Dutchman to take the fight to Bottas and Hamilton.
"If Perez hadn't have been open to that, we never could have done this," Marko added. "We thought we would overtake Hamilton with three laps to go, so it was really nerve-wracking.
"However the strategy, the pit stop and of course Verstappen's execution were perfect. Everything came together in the end."