Sergio Perez pinpoints exact moment that ‘brought me a step back’ this season

Michelle Foster
Sergio Perez adjusts his helmet. Budapest, Hungary. July 2023.

Sergio Perez adjusts his helmet. Budapest, Hungary. July 2023.

Sergio Perez believes it was his crash in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix that put him a “step back” this season as it took him time to “fully trust the car” again.

Perez arrived in Monte Carlo on the back of his Miami Grand Prix loss to Max Verstappen, a race in which the Mexican driver started from pole position while Verstappen was only ninth on the grid but overtook his team-mate to win by five seconds, with the deficit between the two team-mates at 14 points.

Today it is up to 125 points with Perez, as Christian Horner put it, having no chance of winning the World title “barring a disaster” for Verstappen.

Sergio Perez: I think what happened in Monaco probably brought me a step back

Perez reckons his Monaco Grand Prix qualifying crash was the catalyst for that.

That Saturday, on his second lap in Q1, Perez lost the rear of his RB19 turning into Sainte Devote, and crashed into the barriers with his car suffering heavy left-side damage.

The 33-year-old was perplexed by the accident, saying: “It just caught me by surprise, just getting the rear out of shape, especially really late into the corner, it caught me out.”

Starting 20th, he had a nightmare grand prix where in changing conditions from dry to wet and back again, he hit the barriers several times and also had contact with Lance Stroll, Kevin Magnussen and George Russell.

With the weekend a blow to his confidence, he failed to make it into Q3 in the following four qualifying sessions and only once recovered to finish on the podium.

That meant that even when he returned to the pole position shoot-out and the podium in Hungary, his championship hopes were all but over.

He told the media including “I think what happened in Monaco probably brought me a step back and has taken me some time to fully trust the car the way I was [driving] it.

“Then you add the external factor with changeable conditions and then there is a bit more of a discrepancy.” recommends

F1 fastest lap: Which drivers have won the most fastest lap points in F1 2023?

F1 records: The drivers with the longest points-scoring streaks in history

“There is a deficit that I’ve been experiencing with the car in the last few races,” he added. “Whenever there is a change of condition, it tends to get wider this ‘limit’, let’s put it that way. That has been something that has caught us out.”

Sergio Perez: I’m a winner

Perez’s troubles have been compounded by rumours of his pending exit from Red Bull. Although he has a contract for 2024, it has been suggested – several times – that if he doesn’t perform, Daniel Ricciardo is waiting in the wings to take his seat.

Perez is defiant in the face of those rumours.

“It’s in my hands, that’s why I’m focused on myself. I’m a winner and I don’t like having bad weekends,” he said.

“It’s not what I’m here for, I would rather be at home doing something else. I’m here because I know that I can do it and I’ve done it before.

“People just on the sofa forget how much in the little details that we are. You’ve seen it with other drivers for their teams, they’ve had different periods.”

Read next: Revealed: The top 10 F1 2023 performers so far this season