‘Sergio Perez doesn’t just need luck to win the title, he needs bad luck for Max’

Michelle Foster
Sergio Perez smiling for the camera. Miami May 2023

Pole-sitter Sergio Perez smiling for the camera. Miami May 2023

Sergio Perez needs more than good luck to win this year’s World title, he needs “bad luck” to befall Max Verstappen says Ralf Schumacher.

Last time out in Azerbaijan, Perez closed the gap to Verstappen to six points in the race for the Drivers’ Championship as he recorded his second grand prix win of the season.

The Mexican driver was “lucky”, as Christian Horner put it, in the timing of a Safety Car, timing that cost Verstappen two places as the early race leader had pitted moments before and dropped to third.

There was more luck coming Perez’s way in qualifying at the Miami Grand Prix where he claimed pole position while Verstappen was caught out by a late red flag when Charles Leclerc crashed his Ferrari leaving the championship leader down in ninth place.

It’s that combination of luck for the Mexican driver and bad luck for the Dutchman that Schumacher believes Perez needs to win this year’s World title.

“As good as Perez is doing his job at the moment,” he told F1-Insider, “I doubt that he can keep it up over the season if Max stays cool.

“Verstappen is the best driver in the field at the moment, and his team mainly works for him.

“Perez is particularly good on three circuits – in addition to Baku, this is also the case on the street circuits in Monaco and Singapore. After all, he successfully drew a joker in Baku.

“To be honest, Perez doesn’t just need luck to win the World Championship, Verstappen needs bad luck too.”

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Verstappen admitted after qualifying on Saturday that luck had not be on his side as a mistake on his first attempt meant he aborted that lap while his second was wrecked by Leclerc’s red flag.

“It was my fault,” he said of his mistake. “I tried to go to the limit, made a mistake and had to abort the lap.

“After that, of course, you’re a bit dependent on luck that there’s no red flag. But that can always happen on a street circuit. That’s why I’m a little angry with myself.”

As for Perez, he was delighted to turn a difficult start to the weekend into a pole position.

“It’s about delivering when it matters,” he declared. “It hasn’t been an easy weekend for me so far, but on days like this you have to pull off everything you can and overcome the difficulties. That makes the difference.”