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F1 data shows Perez wouldn't have won Saudi Arabia GP without safety car

F1 data shows Perez wouldn't have won Saudi Arabia GP without safety car

1 April - 10:36 Last update: 12:00
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GPblog.com

Sergio Perez grabbed his first pole position in Saudi Arabia, but unfortunately could not translate that into a win on Sunday. The Mexican had bad luck with the safety car, but according to Formula 1 data, Perez would not have even won without it.

For the first 16 laps Perez drove trouble-free up front with Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen Carlos Sainz in his wake. Red Bull Racing and Ferrari were fairly evenly matched until Nicholas Latifi crashed and caused a safety car on lap 16. Just the lap before, Perez was fooled by Leclerc's call to box and while the Mexican went into the pits for new tyres, Leclerc stayed out. This meant Perez's chasers therefore had the advantage of losing less time on their subsequent pit stop during the safety car period, and Perez fell back to P4. The Mexican did not return to the podium.

Data shows the Perez had not won

But, race data from Formula1.com shows that Perez would not have won the race even without this safety car. This conclusion does not take into account other safety cars or other unforeseen circumstances, as it only looks at the race pace. Leclerc had such strong pace in his second stint that he most likely would have passed Perez on the track. Judging by the data, Verstappen would also have passed his teammate later in the race, on lap 26 to be exact. Only about Sainz it is doubtful whether he could have passed the Mexican.

This situation is based purely on hard data and leaves out important aspects; such as how hard Perez would have defended on Leclerc if he was in the lead. In addition, Red Bull were also in the position where Perez could defend on Leclerc and Verstappen could attack the Monegasque. Be that as it may, in a battle that promises to be particularly exciting, Red Bull still seem to have been affected by the early safety car. Early on in the season, Red Bull has to start playing catch-up.

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