Pundit declares ‘there’s no hope at all’ for Sergio Perez in the title race

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen congratulates his Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez. Miami May 2023

Max Verstappen congratulates his Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez. Miami May 2023

Sergio Perez doesn’t need to analyse what went wrong for him in Miami, he needs to “just drive faster” says Dutch racing driver Tom Coronel.

But even then, the Viaplay analyst reckons, whatever brief hope he had of winning the World title is over.

Although Perez started the Miami Grand Prix on pole position with Verstappen ninth on the grid, it was the reigning World Champion who won the race with a late pass on his team-mate.

With Verstappen extending his advantage in the standings to 14 points, Coronel says Perez needs to acknowledge his title hopes are “over” but that he shouldn’t feel bad because team-mates “always become second fiddle” to Verstappen.

Speaking to the media after Sunday’s race, Perez said he needed to “analyse what went wrong because we simply didn’t have the pace” to keep Verstappen at bay.

Coronel has rather scathingly said: “Just drive faster!”

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He added to Motorsport.com: “What does he think? When you’re a team-mate of Max, you just always become second fiddle. That’s just how it is.

“How many times have we seen other drivers walk away with their tails between their legs.

“You think you can match it. Yes, occasionally if he makes a mistake, but in Q2 Max already had a faster lap than the one Sergio set in Q3. We shouldn’t forget that either.

“That hope everyone is talking about, forget it. There’s no hope at all.”

But even though he believes there’s no hope for Perez, at least when it comes to winning the title based on speed, he could win it another way – reliability.

“There is only one way,” he added, “when things go wrong technically with Max very often. Otherwise you can just forget about it.”

After Perez slashed Verstappen’s lead to six points in Baku, the reigning World Champion has brought it back up into double figures, 14.

Coronel reckons this is just the beginning as no matter where Verstappen starts a race, P9 in Miami or P15 in Saudi Arabia, he’ll always be in the fight.

“Get used to it because it’s going to get even bigger. This is the confirmation that Perez was dreaming a bit,” he concluded.

“But you know that is also created by the media. They also want to see it. I can imagine that very well.

“If Max drops out, it’s better for the fight. It’s more exciting, but it’s exciting enough. That guy comes from ninth or fifteenth or wherever we see him come from. Last year Hungary, Spa… you name it, he does it anyway.

“In the end it doesn’t matter where you put him. As long as Max is on the entry list, you just fight for second place with the rest.”

Perez, though, is adamant he’s not out of the fight.

“I really wanted to win this race, it would have meant a lot to me,” he said. “Well, it’s important not to give up. There is still a long season ahead of us and we will have to keep pushing.”