Nico Rosberg believes Sergio Perez ‘suffering’ as he fears being ‘made to look a fool’

Michelle Foster
Red Bull driver Sergio Perez hands in the air after Qatar sprint crash.

Sergio Perez crashed out of the Sprint race in Qatar.

Nico Rosberg says Sergio Perez is in a “horrible situation” as his Qatar Sprint race ended in the gravel while his team-mate Max Verstappen wrapped up World title number three.

Evident since early this year that the 2023 Drivers’ Championship title belonged to Verstappen, the Dutchman sealed that in Saturday’s Sprint race at the Qatar Grand Prix weekend as he brought his RB19 home in second place.

While the plaudits and praise headed his way, for his team-mate Perez it was yet another race to forget with the Mexican driver caught up in a multi-car crash as he tried to break into the points.

Nico Rosberg: It’s proper suffering

Throwing his arms up into the air as he stared at his stricken Red Bull car, Perez’s frustrations with the situation that he once again found himself in were evident.

And on a night where the stark difference between the team-mates was clearly on display, Rosberg says Perez is in a “horrible situation”.

Likening it to Lance Stroll’s woes over at Aston Martin, Rosberg told Sky Sports: “I was watching Checo there and his interview and you can see how it’s just not fun at all. Similar to Lance stroll.

“It’s proper suffering to be in that position because you don’t know what you’re doing wrong, your team-mate is going so much faster with the same car.

“Everybody’s watching you. Social media is so critical, you know memes and everything, and it’s really a horrible situation to be in.”

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‘Perez fears being made to look like a fool again

Nearing the end of a season in which Perez hasn’t won a grand prix since round four, Baku, which marked his second race win of this campaign, Verstappen will line up on pole position in Qatar as he chases his 14th win. Perez is P13 on the grid.

It begs the question what has gone so horribly wrong for Perez.

Rosberg puts that down to the mental side of the gap, saying the negativity has spiraled with the Mexican driver and it’s only been made worse by his fears that Verstappen will make him “look like a fool again”.

“Checo says that it’s a little bit difficult to feel the car at times, but I think the biggest problem there is just Max’s level,” said Rosberg, “it’s just off the charts.

“And we’ve seen with every single team-mate that’s been there, it’s just so difficult and then when you start getting beaten over and over, you start to spiral negatively.

“You go out on track and you’re scared that you’re gonna be made to look like a fool again by being so far behind your team-mate.

“So it just the mental state, the negativity and everything, and then you’re gonna drive even slower. So it just keeps going and it’s just such a difficult situation.”

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