Sergio Perez ‘lucky’ to avoid ‘big shunt’ at end of Dutch GP qualifying

Sam Cooper
Sergio Perez with his hand on his head. Barcelona February 2022

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez with his hand on his head. Barcelona February 2022

Sergio Perez said he used the throttle too early which caused him to spin during the dying moments of Q3 at the Dutch Grand Prix.

The Mexican did his team-mate Max Verstappen a huge favour as the Dutchman was on provisional pole position ahead of Charles Leclerc at the time of the crash, which meant the two Mercedes drivers, who were looking quick, had to back off and ruin their laps.

The damage was not too bad for Perez either as he did not make contact with the wall and only dropped to P5 given the lateness of the crash.

The near-miss was the latest incident in Perez’s struggles this weekend as he had not looked comfortable in any of the three practice sessions leading up to Saturday’s qualifying.

Perez explained his error as him being too eager to pick up the throttle, which caused him to touch the gravel.

“In the end I was quite lucky not to damage the whole car,” he told Sky Sports F1. “We could say [it] was going to be a big shunt.

“I went in all right but I just tried to pick up the throttle too early and touched the gravel a little bit and just lost the rear, unfortunately.

“I was on a good lap but unfortunately I didn’t manage to improve.”

Given the difficulty in overtaking at the Zandvoort circuit, Perez faces a tough task to claw back the lost positions and said he will try to get past the drivers ahead of him as early as possible.

“It’s gonna be a tricky one to make some progress early on but I will try my best. I will try to have strong race pace, I think that will be very important,” he said.

“I think we are on a good strategy. We have good options for us, so hopefully we are able to go by and have strong pace.”

His Red Bull boss Christian Horner said it was a shame Perez did not get to finish the lap but predicted him to be in the fight come race day.

“It’s a shame for Checo that he didn’t get to finish that lap because he was up,” Horner told Sky Sports F1.

“I think he would have probably been on the second row there. But still, P5 for him [so he is] well in his fight against Charles and Carlos [Sainz] tomorrow as well. He can fight hard from that.”