Sergio Perez’s first corner crash and retirement from the Mexican Grand Prix was ‘the last thing he needed’.
Perez went from hero to zero in the first 30 seconds of the Mexican GP when having started from fifth on the grid, the home hero collided with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc while battling for the race lead, resulting in his retirement.
It’s the latest in a long string of poor results and race incidents, with the Red Bull driver having already had to contend with public callouts from senior team management to turn his form around.
Martin Brundle: Sergio Perez did everything right, until…
Speaking in his column for Sky Sports F1, former F1 racer and broadcaster Martin Brundle analysed Perez’s mistake, questioning whether the additional support from the Mexican crowd ended up being a help or a hindrance as he approached the braking zone for Turn 1.
“We debated whether the hugely vocal and animated support for Sergio was an added pressure to the relatively poor form he’s found himself in since the Monaco GP, or if it was just the motivation he needed while surfing the adoration,” he said.
“Perez did everything right until the turn-in into Turn 1. From fifth on the grid, he made a great start, picked up the slipstream of the three now ahead of him, and spotted the gap perfectly on the left-hand side which was also the cleaner, wider racing line into the first corner.
“He was in a way a victim of his own great start and good decisions because he was now level with [Charles] Leclerc and [Max] Verstappen for the lead. He explained afterwards that having been on the podium here twice he wanted to lead the race and take a glorious victory, which is where it sadly went wrong.”
Martin Brundle points out Sergio Perez’s ‘two errors’
With Perez the catalyst of his own demise as he swept into the apex of Turn 1, only to make contact with Leclerc and take himself out, Brundle said the Mexican driver had made two critical errors in his judgement of the situation.
“In the split second at 200mph, he made two errors,” he said.
“He assumed the squeezed Ferrari of Leclerc in the middle would brake earlier, and presumably the same for Verstappen on the dusty inside line which would make the corner much tighter for him. Neither rival braked early and they remained fully in control of their cars.
“Sergio’s biggest mistake was that he turned into the corner too hard and too early, he needed to run a wider line around the outside and seize the high ground into the second part of the chicane.
“Leclerc had little room to manoeuvre with Verstappen on his inside, but Perez’s overlap was quite significant and the contact between wide and sticky F1 tyres sent him skywards and soon into retirement. It was the last thing he, his team, or the fans and race promoter needed.”