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Sergio Perez

Perez 'paid the price' for Red Bull struggle in Japanese GP

It is a first career podium for Sergio Perez at Suzuka

Perez Japan
To news overview © XPBimages

Sergio Perez felt he "paid the price" for suffering with balance issues during the Japanese Grand Prix.

Starting second, Perez followed home team leader Max Verstappen for a third Red Bull one-two of the season, to score his first career podium at Suzuka.

Verstappen largely had Perez covered in the opening laps, but a slight mistake at the second Degner corner allowed the Dutchman to break free, with Perez bemoaning the feeling of his RB20.

"It was a good weekend for the team, and first of all, I think obviously with the restart and doing the start again, it is always quite hard to keep the focus for such a long period of time," Perez explained.

"My second start was a little bit better, but just not enough to get Max, and I think we paid the price a little bit because we were a bit off-balance in that first stint, which meant we couldn't keep it alive.

In what was a two-stop race, Red Bull opted for a medium-medium-hard strategy, but Perez found himself undercut by Lando Norris after the first round of stops.

He quickly passed the McLaren - and felt more comfortable on the hardest Pirelli tyres as the race developed.

"We had to box, and were undercut by Lando [Norris] and then I had to push too much on that medium stint but then on the hard stint, I was a lot more comfortable," he said.

"The pace came back, but I think I suffered a bit from that first stint because we were a bit unbalanced.

"We have good momentum, and if you remember here last year, it was probably my worst weekend.

"So if we are strong in places like this with a lot of high and medium-speed corners, I think we can be strong anywhere."

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