Sergio Perez speaks out on Mexican Grand Prix actions in ‘saddest race of career’

Thomas Maher
Sergio Perez sails into the air after his Red Bull makes contact with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc in the Mexican Grand Prix.

Sergio Perez sails into the air after his Red Bull makes contact with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc in the Mexican Grand Prix.

Sergio Perez has vowed that he would take the same risks all over again after crashing out of the Mexican Grand Prix at Turn 1.

The home hero was out within seconds at the start of the Mexican Grand Prix, having taken an audacious risk at a brave overtaking move at the first corner. Vaulting off the line from fifth on the grid, Perez snuck his nose into the lead on the run to the first turn, before going toe to toe with Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen in the braking zone.

However, Perez swept in too aggressively and made contact with the Ferrari driver, resulting in Perez being launched into the air and spun off into the escape area. While he recovered to the pits, the damage to the RB19 was too severe to continue.

Sergio Perez: I go home very sad

Having spent the week full of anticipation as the Red Bull driver savoured the adoration of his home crowd, Perez’s early bath meant he cut a disconsolate figure as he spoke to the media following the race.

Asked whether the event marked the saddest race of his career, having been a genuine contender for the race win, Perez confirmed it was.

“It’s certainly pretty high up there,” he said.

“I’ve had some really sad moments in my career but certainly this, as a race, is the saddest one because of the end result.

“But, at the end of the day, this is just racing and I go home very sad but also very proud of my team and myself.

“We gave it all, I knew that today a podium was not enough for me and I really wanted to go for the win. I saw the gap and I went for it.”

Explaining the incident from his side, Perez said he had been caught out by just how brave Charles Leclerc had been on the brakes while sandwiched in between the two Red Bulls.

“I was not expecting Charles to brake that late because I was already ahead of him,” he said.

“He was in the middle so there’s a lot less room for manouevres.

“Once you’re committed to the braking zone at those speeds, it’s just too late. But, with these wide cars, three cars into Turn 1 isn’t going to end well. But I decided to take a risk, and I paid the price.”

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Sergio Perez: I’d take the risk all over again

The Mexican confirmed he couldn’t have continued the race in any shape or form, saying: “The damage was quite big on the rear suspension.”

Now faced with just a 20-point lead over Lewis Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship as they vie for second place overall, Perez said he won’t find it difficult to move on mentally from his disappointment.

“It’s not difficult at all, because it’s a weekend where I risked it all to go for the win – the pace was there,” he said.

“But it just didn’t happen and this is just how racing is, I’ve been here long enough to understand that and you have days like this.

“But what makes me feel proud is that I gave it all and that’s it.”

Perez remained defiant as he said he wouldn’t change anything about his approach to the first corner if he had the opportunity to redo it over and whether he felt he’d let his fans down.

“I feel, to be honest, that I would have let them down more if I didn’t go for it, if I’m honest,” he said.

“I went for the gap and I decided to take a risk. I knew it was going to be very risky and I ended up paying the price. Risk/reward, it was a pretty high risk to take. But it was worth taking. I would take it again.”

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