Helmut Marko’s unflattering verdict on Sergio Perez’s qualifying crash

Michelle Foster
Sergio Perez not happy in the Red Bull garage. Monaco May 2023

Sergio Perez not happy in the Red Bull garage. Monaco May 2023

Helmut Marko has slammed Sergio Perez for his “stupid mistake” in qualifying at the Monaco Grand Prix that will have the driver lining up at the very back of the grid.

Hoping to bag pole position and reassert his claim as Red Bull’s street race king, Perez crashed eight minutes into Q1 when he went into Sainte Devote too fast and lost control, sliding into the barriers.

Damaging the rear left of his RB19, including taking a chunk out of his sidepods, it was immediately apparent his qualifying was over.

Marko was not at all impressed.

“To Sergio,” he told Sky Deutschland, “if you have a car like that, then you shouldn’t be thrown out in Q1. That was a stupid mistake on his part.

“Maybe he was thinking too much about the World Championship.”

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Saturday’s accident was a huge blow to Perez’s title aspirations as the driver, already 14 points behind his team-mate Max Verstappen, will line up P20 while the Dutchman is on pole position.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner tried to find a reason for his driver’s costly shunt, saying perhaps he was “distracted” by traffic.

“I can only think he was distracted by the Alpine on the right-hand side because he just misjudged that first turn and the circuit was only going to get faster and faster,” he said.

“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 bit of a snap on entry and it wasn’t a small tap.”

As for Perez, he admits it was his mistake.

“Unbelievable day. I cannot believe what I what I’ve done,” said the 33-year-old. “It just caught me by surprise, just getting that rear out of shape, especially really late into the corner.

“It’s a way of how we were trying to get the lap time out of it, but I just went over the limit and I became a passenger. There was nothing else I could do because it was really late in the corner, and I could not cut the corner or go out of the corner.”

He added: “I’m super disappointed today with myself and I know that tomorrow it’s going to be an impossible race.”