Helmut Marko delivers surprising verdict on Sergio Perez’s Mexico GP crash

Thomas Maher
Sergio Perez's Red Bull gets launched into the air at Turn 1 during the Mexican Grand Prix.

Sergio Perez's Red Bull gets launched into the air at Turn 1 during the Mexican Grand Prix.

Sergio Perez’s misjudgement of Turn 1 at the Mexican Grand Prix resulted in his retirement, but no criticism from Helmut Marko…

Perez’s error at Turn 1 of his home race resulted in a catastrophic result for the home hero as the damage he picked up on his RB19 proved to be race-ending.

The retirement meant no points for Perez, meaning Lewis Hamilton’s second-place finish allowed the Mercedes driver to close to just 20 points behind the Mexican in the battle for the runner-up spot in the Drivers’ Championship.

Helmut Marko springs to Sergio Perez’s defence

After a disastrous result that just becomes the latest addition in a long list of poor races from Perez, the error would usually be the catalyst for some choice criticism from Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko.

However, the 80-year-old Austrian lent a voice of support for his driver as he spoke to the media following the chequered flag.

“I would say it was a racing incident,” Marko said, as quoted by Motorsport Italy.

“He made a much better start than [Carlos] Sainz and was also ahead of [Charles] Leclerc. He was a bit unlucky. It was unlucky to see all three of them coming into the corner together like that.”

Marko has been extremely critical of Perez on occasion this season, and drew backlash himself in September when he said that some of Perez’s deficiencies as a driver stem back to traits associated with his nationality.

Having apologised publicly for those comments, Marko chose to continue in the vein of diplomacy as he defended Perez’s gung-ho approach to racing on the first lap in front of his home crowd.

“I don’t think Checo [Perez] felt pressure in the home race,” he said.

“If you have that position and you have a chance to go into the first corner first or second, that’s the best possible situation. That’s why you have to try and he did well to do that.”

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Helmut Marko: Sergio Perez didn’t go all out

Remarkably, Marko even said that he felt Perez’s move had been a good balance of aggression and patience, but had simply just been caught out by the placement of the other cars.

“I wouldn’t say he made an ‘all or nothing’ manoeuvre,” he said.

“It was just a matter of a couple of centimetres: if he had been slightly further ahead, he would have been ahead of Leclerc.

“When he came back into the pits after the accident I saw his face. I saw it when he was still in the car.

“He asked to return to the track, but we quickly realised that the damage to his RB19 was too severe, so he couldn’t continue. It wasn’t just a matter of the big hole in the belly, but also other essential parts of the single-seater that suffered major damage.”

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