Was Lewis Hamilton disrespecting Sergio Perez with his comment?

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

After the Mexican Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton said “when you have Checo on your tail then you know the car is quick”, and some have taken it as a sign of disrespect.

Red Bull was obviously a lot faster than Mercedes at the Mexican Grand Prix. This was none more evident than when Sergio Perez started applying pressure on Lewis Hamilton in their battle for P2.

It was obvious at that point that the only thing that was standing between Perez and the second step of the podium was Lewis’ driving skill.

After the race Lewis told Sky Sports F1 that “when you have Checo on your tail then you know the car is quick”. Afterwards, Lewis once again reiterated the same sentiment.

“It just shows how fast their car was when Sergio was that close behind me and able to follow that closely,” Lewis said.

Many have taken this as Lewis saying that Perez would never be able to jeopardise him in this way on his own, without a faster car.

This however couldn’t be farther from the truth, as he has praised Checo’s skills on numerous occasions. Sky F1’s Ted Kravitz also doesn’t believe Lewis meant any disrespect.

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“It might have sounded disrespectful when Lewis Hamilton was saying, ‘we know Red Bull have a fast car when Checo Perez is pressuring me from behind’,” Ted said.

“It might have sounded, you know, ‘hang on, Lewis, Checo’s alright’ – bear in mind that, for the whole of the season, Hamilton has been comfortably ahead of Checo Perez.

“That goes towards Checo learning how to drive the car fast, but also bear in mind that Lewis knows he kind of has the measure of Checo Perez on pure driver performance himself, because they were team-mates way back when. So, I think maybe that’s it.

“I know Lewis does respect Checo enormously, so I just think if you did hear Lewis saying [that], I think he’s just putting into context the previous performance of the Red Bull in the hands of Perez, maybe not appreciating that Perez has made a step forward with his performance,” Kravitz concluded

After the race Lewis also said that Perez “did a great job, so he was applying that pressure and kept going”, which should put an end to any insinuations that he was disrespecting the Mexican driver.

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