Sergio Perez may need a new RB19 chassis for use in the Monaco Grand Prix, after crashing out during Q1 on Saturday.
Perez was an early casualty from qualifying in Monte Carlo, with the Mexican driver crashing out after just seven minutes when he came into Turn 1 carrying too much speed.
Currently in second place and attempting to keep up with Max Verstappen in the Drivers’ Championship, Perez struck the barriers at Sainte Devote and picked up some hefty damage to the side of his RB19.
Stricken across the racing line, Perez hopped out of the car as the red flags were shown to neutralise the session and allow the marshals the chance to remove his car from the track.
Sergio Perez explains his Monaco qualifying crash
“It was going well, I was happy with the balance,” a downbeat Perez explained to Sky F1 afterwards.
“Then in Q1, you are progressing and finding new limits.
“But yeah, going into the corner, I just lost the rear end quite late into the corner and I became a passenger because it was so late that I had nowhere to go.
“I could not cut the corner or go out of the corner and I end up touching the wall, which is a big mistake from my side. I’m very sorry for my team.”
Perez had been in fifth place in the times at the moment he crashed out, giving him a slight glimmer of hope that he might make it through into Q2 and secure a possible 15th-place grid slot. But the pace was such that the Red Bull driver finished down in 20th at the chequered flag for Q1, and he said he never thought he’d had a chance at a higher position anyway.
“It’s just normal. That’s how it ramps up,” he said.
“But I’m really disappointed with myself and it’s going to be a very difficult day tomorrow to do anything.”
Christian Horner: Sergio Perez will be ‘kicking himself’ for Q1 exit
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner made no excuses for his driver as he spoke to the media after the session. While full of praise for pole-sitter Max Verstappen, Horner said Perez had simply made an error “too early in Q1”.
“I can only think maybe he was distracted by the Alpine on the right-hand side,” said Horner, in reference to a car coming out of the pits in front of Perez just before the incident.
“Because he just misjudged that first turn and the circuit was only going to get faster and faster. So he’ll be kicking himself for that.
“I think he just went in too fast. Maybe he was distracted. You can see the overspeed, he had a little bit of a snap on entry and it wasn’t a small tap.”
Asked whether the car will need some new parts for tomorrow’s race, Horner said the changes needed are likely to be comprehensive enough to trigger a pit-lane start.
“We might have to change the whole lot, the chassis, just as a precaution, to be honest with you,” Horner said – such a change would be a breach of parc ferme rules and force Perez to start from the pits.
“First of all, we’re just getting the car back, we’ll make that call when we get it back.
“It’s so hard. I mean, Max started from that position a few years ago and I think he just made it into the top 10, so scoring points tomorrow will be the target for Checo because it’s likely to be a one-stop race. You’re caught in the crocodile and you can’t use your usual pace.”