Max Verstappen critiques Sergio Perez’s role in disastrous Mexican GP crash

Michelle Foster
Red Bull driver Sergio Perez crashes out of the Mexican GP on lap 1.

Max Verstappen believes Sergio Perez made one key mistake in Mexico.

Sergio Perez’s Mexican Grand Prix was over before it even began with Max Verstappen arguing that while he should’ve left a “bit more room”, had his teammate pulled off the audacious fifth to first pass he would’ve looked “amazing”.

Perez lined up fifth on the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez grid for his home race and made an excellent getaway.

Aided by the slipstream from the cars ahead, he surged ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz and attempted to pass another two cars – Verstappen and Charles Leclerc – for the lead.

Max Verstappen highlights Sergio Perez’s key mistake

But with Verstappen and Leclerc still side by side, Perez made it three-wide when he went around the outside and collided with the Ferrari driver as he turned into Turn 1.

Perez’s RB19 was launched into the air before landing heavily with the driver coming to a rest facing the wrong way in the run-off area.

He limped back to the pits but the damage to his Red Bull meant his race was over while Verstappen went on to claim win number 16 of this season.

The Dutchman gets why Perez tried to make the move, but believes he made one key mistake.

“I mean, I understand because it’s his home Grand Prix,” he said. “You want to be on the podium, I fully understand that.

“He went around the outside, and he tried. Looking at the footage, I think he could have left a little bit more space, but at the other end if it would have worked, you know, you look amazing.

“And of course, I think it’s just more like that excitement of wanting to be on the podium and this time it didn’t work out, unfortunately.”

He added: “At the time, I didn’t really see a lot. At one point, I just saw that a car was a bit flying in the air, but then I saw the footage after the race and then you can comment on it. But while driving it’s a bit hard because I was mainly focusing on Charles, because I couldn’t see what was happening on the outside.”

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Sergio Perez was ‘only thinking of winning the race’

Punching his steering wheel in frustration when he was told his race was over, Red Bull tried to get their driver back out onto the track but there was too much damage to the car.

Cutting a forlorn figure as he walked away from his stricken RB19, the Mexican driver told Spanish broadcaster DAZN: “I’m sad without a doubt because today was my opportunity.

“I had a very good start and I was only thinking of winning the race. I didn’t want to be on the podium. I’ve been on the podium two years in a row.

“I saw the opportunity and I went for it. In hindsight, I took a risk, but if I had pulled it off I would have come out of Turn 1 in the lead.

“I didn’t expect Charles to brake so late since he was the car in the middle. He had a lot less margin than Max, who was on the inside, and I was the one who could brake the latest because I was on the outside.”

Acknowledging the hurt for his home fans who watched his race end as soon as it began, Perez says he’ll still walk away with his head high knowing he gave it his all.

“Yeah, it hurts a lot for them, but I’m going home at ease because I gave absolutely everything,” Perez added. “Maybe if I had finished on the podium today knowing that I had the chance to win the race…

“It’s sad for all the people because I wanted to give them the victory no matter what.”

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