Sergio Perez admitted a weekend without points was “extremely costly” for his World Championship chances in Monaco, and he paid the price for his qualifying mistake on Saturday.
The Mexican driver started from the last slot on the grid after crashing out of Q1 in Monaco on Saturday, following his tangle with the wall at Sainte Devote.
With qualifying in Monte Carlo proving to be the most important session of the season in terms of track position deciding your chances for the race, this left the Red Bull driver with a mountain to climb on Sunday.
He pitted after one lap to try and make the most of clear air on hard tyres and catch back up to the pack in the search for points, but multiple instances of contact and troubles in traffic eventually saw Perez stop five times, finish two laps behind his team-mate and out of the points.
To rub salt into his wounds from the weekend, Verstappen took victory on Sunday and extended his lead in the Drivers’ Championship to 39 points, more than one-and-a-half race wins’ worth.
Perez acknowledged his qualifying error would decide his fate on Sunday, but the circumstances in the race did not help him either.
“It was a really difficult day out there, and everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong,” Perez said to Formula1.com after the race.
“Really, really sad with the performance, but not off today, basically from yesterday with my mistake. We knew that this was the price that we were going to pay.”
After battling to two hard-fought victories in the early part of the season against Verstappen, Perez had been well in the hunt alongside his Red Bull team-mate in the Drivers’ Championship.
With the RB19 being the class of the field, the fight for the title looks increasingly likely to be among the two Red Bull drivers – and Perez knows he cannot lose any more ground if he is to sustain a challenge throughout the season.
With that said, he is still hopeful of keeping in the hunt, but is aware that his Monaco troubles have to be a one-off.
“It is very frustrating,” he admitted. “I knew that my mistake yesterday was extremely costly, and then that was 25 points [lost].
“So very disappointed, but still, I have some hope – but I know that I cannot afford another zero in the championship, so I really hope I can be back to my normal level in Barcelona.”