Sergio Perez claims Ferrari would have “absolutely” won without Max Verstappen DNF

Sergio Perez thinks Ferrari had the pace to win in Melbourne even without a DNF for Max Verstappen.

Max Verstappen leads at the start at the Australian GP
Max Verstappen leads at the start at the Australian GP

Sergio Perez is certain Ferrari would have still won the F1 Australian Grand Prix even if Max Verstappen didn’t retire.

Reigning world champion Verstappen lost the lead to Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz on the second lap but was forced into his first DNF in two years when his Red Bull car suffered a brake failure. 

Sainz then controlled the race as he headed teammate Charles Leclerc to complete a Ferrari 1-2 and end Red Bull’s perfect start to the season.

And Perez believes Ferrari had a pace advantage over Red Bull in Melbourne.

“As a team we just didn’t have the pace today,” the Mexican told Sky. “We didn’t have the pace throughout the weekend.

“We were struggling already from Friday and we never got on top of the management of tyres. I think we just have to understand and make sure we are able to improve.

“We already saw last year in a track like this, for example Vegas a front-limited track, Ferrari was a lot stronger than us. So we just couldn’t look after the front tyres.”

When asked if he thinks Ferrari would have won even if Verstappen hadn’t retired, Perez said: “Absolutely, yes.”

Perez also conceded he lacked the pace to put himself in contention for victory.

“We didn’t have the pace, unfortunately,” he said. “I think we struggled early on.

“We could see that Ferrari and McLaren were a step ahead of us. I think we just couldn’t get the balance in the window. There’s some work to do for the coming races. It was a very unique Tarmac and just throughout the weekend we were not able to manage the best possible grip level.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner revealed after the race that Perez had picked up damage to his RB20. 

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