Helmut Marko takes aim at Perez after being lapped twice by Verstappen

Michelle Foster
Sergio Perez speaking to the media after qualifying. Azerbaijan April 2023

The season may be over but Sergio Perez is still on the clock.

Declaring the crash that laid the foundation for Sergio Perez’s miserable Monaco Grand Prix “not irresponsible, but unreasonable”, Helmut Marko says after that his scruffy race on Sunday “didn’t matter”.

Perez had a nightmare weekend around the streets of Monte Carlo as he crashed his RB19 eight minutes into Q1 when he lost it at Sainte Devote, that putting him down in 20th place on the grid, a complete contrast to his team-mate Max Verstappen’s pole position.

And it didn’t get any better on the Sunday.

Colliding with Lance Stroll and Kevin Magnussen, Perez also bounced off the barriers several times necessitating a front wing change. Twice lapped by race winner Verstappen, the Mexican driver finished the grand prix well outside of the points in 16th place.

Speaking about his driver’s incident-packed race, Marko told ServusTV: “It didn’t matter then. Everything went wrong there.”

“There” being Perez’s qualifying crash that the 80-year-old billed as “not irresponsible, but unreasonable”.

He told Sky Deutschland: “I hope that today’s mistakes are enough for the rest of the season. In general, his speed when he drove free was good. But his crash in qualifying ruined the weekend.”

Team boss Christian Horner concedes it just wasn’t Perez’s weekend.

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“It was just a weekend where nothing worked for him at all,” he said. “I would say the sooner he comes to Barcelona the better.”

Sunday’s result means Perez now trails Verstappen by 39 points with the Dutchman having romped to his fourth win of the season.

“That’s the first big mistake I made in the World Championship,” declared Perez.

“I have to apologise to the team here. Now I’m looking forward to the next race. I’m looking forward to the race and to getting started again soon.”

Marko was naturally a lot more complimentary of Verstappen’s weekend in Monaco, the reigning World Champion on pole position by 0.084s ahead of Alonso before going onto win the race by 28 seconds.

“It started with an unbelievable qualifying lap and continued,” said the Red Bull motorsport boss.

“Max was always in control of the situation in all conditions – dry, semi-dry, extremely water – and controlled the pace with ease. An unbelievable performance.”

He added: “After it was clear when the rain was coming, we told him to try to stay out so that we didn’t have to stop twice. There was graining on the tyres, but they have then recovered. We saw that with others too.

“The communication between the technicians and Max was excellent. One wall was tight again, so we couldn’t breathe for a while. It went well again.”