Pedro de la Rosa doubts Sergio Perez’s Monaco crash was deliberate

Thomas Maher
The broken Red Bull driven by Sergio Perez removed. Monaco, May 2022.

The broken Red Bull driven by Sergio Perez on the recovery truck. Monaco, May 2022.

Pedro de la Rosa doesn’t believe it’s “in the DNA” of a driver to crash on purpose, casting doubt on Sergio Perez’s Monaco incident.

The Spaniard doesn’t believe there’s any truth to the suggestion that Sergio Perez crashed his Red Bull on purpose in the final minutes of Monaco qualifying back in May.

The topic reared its head towards the conclusion of the 2022 season, after Max Verstappen ignored a team instruction to allow Perez through in Brazil and keep Perez’s chances of P2 in the Drivers’ Championship as healthy as possible.

Verstappen made it clear over team radio that he had his reasons for ignoring the instruction, although neither he nor anyone from Red Bull was willing to shed any light on it.

Using a process of elimination on incidents involving Perez and Verstappen during the year, journalists and media were able to zero in on the possibility that Verstappen could have been irked by a crash from Perez in Monaco, when the Mexican driver spun at Portier on the final qualifying runs – his crash ruined Verstappen’s final lap, and sealed himself a third place starting position over Verstappen in fourth.

The debate over whether the crash may have been deliberate has swirled around ever since, but De La Rosa doesn’t believe there’s any meat to the rumour.

“I think that Checo [Perez] did nothing wrong in Monaco, he did nothing on purpose,” De La Rosa told Motorsport.com at the Las 500 Millas de Palou.

“It is very difficult for him [if] a driver crashes on purpose. Another thing is that you park the car. But it’s not in the DNA of a driver to crash.”

After a brief war of words through the media as the situation escalated directly after the race at Interlagos, a clearing of the air had been managed by the time the teams arrived in Abu Dhabi for the season finale.

With Verstappen romping to victory, Perez ended up being beaten by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to miss out on the runner-up spot in the Drivers’ Championship.

Over a month later, it’s still not yet clear just what the problem between Perez and Verstappen was, or what steps Red Bull had to take to restore peace between their two drivers.

De Le Rosa believes the situation could have been handled better, particularly if Verstappen had behaved differently regarding an inconsequential team order to swap positions for a lowly points finish in Brazil.

“I think that Verstappen, [if] asked the question now if he had done something different, if he had kept the same decision,” De La Rosa said.

“In the end, I don’t think it would have changed anything about the final result of the championship, but maybe it would have saved them a headache.”

Read More: ‘Trust issues’ between Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez predicted to spill in 2023