Martin Brundle reveals the brutal truth over Sergio Perez’s Red Bull troubles

Oliver Harden
Sergio Perez looks to the side in the Red Bull garage.

Sergio Perez puts on his helmet in the Red Bull garage.

Sky F1 pundit Martin Brundle believes Sergio Perez is the master of his own downfall at Red Bull, claiming his priorities alongside team-mate Max Verstappen are in the wrong order.

Perez is fighting to keep his seat for 2024 after a dramatic mid-season implosion and with three races remaining sits just 20 points ahead of Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton in the fight for second place in the Drivers’ standings.

Having failed to reach Q3 for five consecutive races between May and July, the 33-year-old’s season slumped to a new low at his home race in Mexico last weekend where he retired on the opening lap after a collision with Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc.

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Perez enjoyed a fine start from fifth on the grid to challenge for the lead at the first corner, but was launched skywards after turning too abruptly into the turn and suffered terminal damage.

Speaking during Sky F1’s coverage of this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix, Brundle feels Perez’s move came from a place of desperation.

And he claimed that the veteran is putting too much pressure on himself to beat Verstappen, when he should first aim to act as a solid wingman to the three-time World Champion.

Asked if Mexico was the nadir of Perez’s season, Brundle replied: “He’s had a few, hasn’t he?

“Everybody cut him a lot of slack there and wanted him to do well at the Mexican Grand Prix. He was under a lot of pressure coming into that race and the crowd were cheering him every time he went through a corner.

“There is a large element there of: ‘What on earth were you thinking of, Sergio, turning in that hard, that early, assuming that drivers like Leclerc and Verstappen would have been breaking early?’

“There was an element of desperation. He realised he was just slightly ahead going in there after a tremendous start.

“Read the racetrack well, got himself on the left-hand side – as we’ve seen Verstappen do [in 2021] when he passed both Mercedes going in there.

“Now he’s on the grippy racing line with a wider run into the corner, but you have to do a bit of a ‘wall a death’ around the outside. You can’t just turn in.

“And I even wonder, if Leclerc wasn’t there, whether him and Max would have made contact eventually. He was turning in really hard.

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“So I think the moment got to Sergio and he made two critical mistakes when he got there. [It was] the last thing he needed.

“Sergio needs to, firstly, be on the back of Verstappen’s gearbox at the end of the race; secondly, win the races Verstappen doesn’t; and thirdly, think about beating Verstappen.

“He’s doing it the other way around.”

The first cracks in the relationship between Verstappen and Perez surfaced at last year’s Brazilian GP, where the World Champion rejected Red Bull’s request to swap positions with Perez to aid his team-mate’s bid to finish second in the Championship.

Verstappen was questioned about helping Perez on Thursday at Interlagos.

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