After making what appeared to be a relatively early stop in a bid to leapfrog Alpine’s Fernando Alonso, Perez has confirmed the team was then caught between going for a one-stop or two-stop strategy.
Bottas’ tyre failure, however, changed the scenario as Red Bull opted for a two-stop to ensure he banked a position and crucial points in the constructors’ championship.
The Finn's eventual retirement due to damage sustained to the car caused by limping back to the pits after the tyre issue, combined with Perez’s fourth place, means Red Bull has closed the gap on Mercedes to just five points.
“We played it safe given the explosions of the tyres.,” said Perez. “We were thinking more of the long-term picture.
“When we saw what happened to the other cars we were a bit concerned about that, so we played it safe.
“In the end, we left some points on the table but managed to minimise the losses from the race.”
Red Bull caught between two stools - Perez
Asked whether he would have preferred to have risked it, as Alpine did with Alonso as the Spaniard ran a one-stop strategy that landed him third, Perez added: “No, it’s a lot to lose. There’s a lot we are fighting for.
“I’m a team player. Of course, as a driver, you want to be on the podium but it’s the championship that matters and fourth is better than nothing.”
Red Bull’s dilemma with Perez was compounded by the early first stop in switching from the medium to the hard tyre, underlined by a failed undercut on Alonso.
“That was the main issue, that we were in the middle of going between a one and a two,” assessed Perez.
“And yeah, we came out into a lot of traffic. There was a lot of traffic out there, and the first laps on the hards it wasn’t easy to overtake. We lost a lot of seconds and we couldn’t get ahead of Fernando.
“Then we overtook him, we were going onto the one-stop and then we changed our minds, and it was then it was really about making it to the end.
“What happened to Valtteri put a thought in our heads. At the end of the day, as I say, fourth is better than nothing.”
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