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Formula 1 Australian GP

Perez: Low sun made final F1 Australian GP laps "dangerous"

Sergio Perez says the closing stages of the Australian Grand Prix were “dangerous” as the low sun made visibility difficult for the Formula 1 drivers.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19

Red flag delays meant the final restart took place a lot later than the race was expected to run, which may have contributed to the chain of first lap incidents that led to the final red flag, with Perez also citing cold tyres as another factor.

Perez was among those involved as he went across the grass and gravel at Turn 1 while avoiding Pierre Gasly, who was in turn edged wide by contact between Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso.

The Mexican, who started from the pitlane after encountering brake balance problems in qualifying, was eventually classified fifth.

"I had to avoid Gasly," he said of the final restart. "And then there was no visibility really going into Turn 1.

"It was really dangerous, first of all the warm-up, but secondly, we could not see anything. We cannot race in these conditions any more. One day, it's going to be a big shunt.

"We cannot see anything. The last 30 laps we are just a passenger, we don't have any visibility."

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Perez’s race was compromised when his strategy of starting on the hard tyres was negated by an early red flag that gave rivals a free change.

He admitted that he had to balance risk and reward as he tried to make his way through the field.

"It was a big mess with the DRS train early on,” he said. “I needed to take a lot more risk if I wanted to make some more progress, and probably I wouldn't have finished the race or probably I could have been a little bit higher.

"It’s a gamble, and I think the safety car did hurt us because everyone went for the hards, so there wasn't much of a strategy that we could do, and that put us a bit out of sync."

Asked if fifth place represented good damage limitation, he said: "I think that was really the maximum we could have done today. As I say, if we wanted more we would have needed to take much more risk.

"The restart, the first standing start I did, I mean it's a mess starting in those positions. It's people taking massive risks, and it was quite difficult for me."

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On the positive side, Perez acknowledged that the car’s problems had been fixed for the race: "We changed a lot of things in the car, on the engine side and on the brake balance, and the chassis."

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner confirmed that the team had remedied the problem, although he downplayed its impact on qualifying.

“We changed a few components on the car that may have contributed to it," he said when asked about the issues by Autosport. 

"I think that it didn’t sound like there was any reoccurrence of it today, so that was good news.

"I think that he had a very difficult P3 which was by far from the best preparation, and then obviously he went out, was pushing hard on that first lap. 

"He was late and hard on the brakes into T3. All the bits and pieces together weren’t quite perfect, but often these cars aren’t."

Asked to elaborate on the brake balance problem, Horner added: "It’s something that they control in the car. I think we had a bit of the engine running on in P3, but the levels that we saw in qualifying were nothing abnormal."

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