Perez on Alonso duel: “With 95% of the field, I would’ve crashed”

Sergio Perez believes Fernando Alonso is one of the few drivers who can race wheel-to-wheel at the very limit in F1.

Throughout the 2023 season, Sergio Perez has been involved in a fair share of incidents. In Qatar and Mexico, for example, collisions cost the 33-year-old significant points – complicating an already difficult season for the Red Bull driver.

This is not to pass judgment in favour or against Perez in these instances. Still, it is important to note this context before dissecting Checo’s comments after the Brazilian GP.

His intense battle to the line with Alonso will be forever etched into F1 history. The finest margins separated the two drivers, who drove at an exemplary level throughout. Despite missing out on third place, the Mexican driver was still satisfied with the quality of this fight.

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Perez praises Alonso’s racecraft

Moreover, he explained post-race that very few drivers could have sustained such a duel:

“Slowly but surely, we got closer to Alonso until the end,” he told Spanish outlets at Interlagos.

“In truth, it was a really fun race. Because [I was] fighting with a driver like Alonso at the limit – I think with 95% of the grid, I would’ve crashed. 

“But with Fernando, you can have these kinds of battles – and they are always entertaining.”

It is no surprise that Perez and Alonso have such respect for each other. Over ten years ago at the Malaysian GP, the two drivers battled for victory at the Sepang circuit. On that occasion, it was the Spaniard who secured the race win for Ferrari.

The two drivers have maintained a good relationship in Formula 1 across various teams and stages of their careers. Earlier this year in Miami, it was Alonso who suggested they should speak in Spanish at the FIA press conference – owing to the Spanish community in the area.

Evidently, with a shared culture and language, the two have fostered a mutual admiration. Moving forward, it will be intriguing to observe how the next two years unfold for these drivers.

Alonso will continue working with Aston Martin to progress in 2024, whilst Sergio Perez will hope to feel more comfortable in next year’s Red Bull. In any case, it seems reasonable to predict both drivers fighting again for big results in the foreseeable future.