Sergio Perez start theory emerges after near catastrophic wipe-out of Max Verstappen

Michelle Foster
George Russell chases Sergio Perez around the Miami circuit

George Russell chases Sergio Perez around the Miami circuit

Sergio Perez came within a scrape and a whack of putting Max Verstappen out of the Miami Grand Prix on the opening lap, Christijan Albers putting his antics down to his “frustrating” qualifying.

While Verstappen lined up on pole position for the Miami Grand Prix, Perez was fourth with the two Ferraris ahead of him.

‘Of course he is already frustrated that Verstappen is at the front’

Whether it was the Scuderia’s vow to launch a two-car attack on his team-mate or his own desire to join Verstappen at the front of the field, Perez made a flying, but over-enthusiastic, start to the Grand Prix.

Shooting up to the rear of his team-mate’s RB20, the Mexican driver overshot his braking point and his team-mate.

Luckily for Red Bull, it was nothing more than a “scratch” on Verstappen’s diffuser in what could have easily been a two-car retirement.

Former F1 driver Albers put that incident down to Perez’s frustration at his deficit to Verstappen in qualifying.

“What disappointed me with Perez were a few things,” he said in De Telegraaf podcast. “Everyone was going crazy about him braking at the start.

“Of course, he could have taken Max out, and he could have taken the two Ferraris with him. He just messed up, but that’s racing.

“You want to make as good a start as possible.

“Of course, he is already frustrated that Verstappen is at the front, and he starts fourth. So he thinks: ‘I must and will find that connection with Max, otherwise I will lose him’.

“So he’s going to force it and brakes forty or fifty meters too late. He’s lucky he doesn’t take Max or those two Ferraris with him.”

Sergio Perez’s deficit to Max Verstappen laid bare

👉F1 2024: Head-to-head qualifying record between team-mates

👉F1 2024: Head-to-head race statistics between team-mates

Verstappen wasn’t the only driver raising eyebrows over Perez’s lap 1 antics.

“Carlos Sainz had a problem there, and [Lando[ Norris had a problem. That wasn’t fair to Norris either,’ said Albers. “He fell back, because he had to avoid things.”

As the Grand Prix played out, interrupted by a Safety Car when Kevin Magnussen punted Logan Sargeant into the barriers, Lando Norris was gifted a free pit stop that allowed him to pit and come out P1 ahead of Verstappen.

Lining up behind the Safety Car with the Dutchman second, Verstappen attacked into Turn 1 but wasn’t able to make the pass.

Norris scampered off to win the race by seven seconds ahead of Verstappen with Charles Leclerc third. As for Perez, who like Lewis Hamilton took the restart on the medium Pirellis, he was fourth with the Mercedes driver P6.

“After that Safety Car,” said Albers, “there were two men in the top ten on mediums – Sergio PĂ©rez and Lewis Hamilton. I had high expectations for that.

“Those medium tyres were also much faster in the beginning, but then you could see that Perez could not keep up. Then he also had Hamilton behind him, and couldn’t get past it, but was able to stay in touch thanks to the DRS.

“You see Hamilton perform well, but you miss that with Perez. I think that’s a shame.”

Read next: ‘Highly-awaited Mercedes’ predicted to ‘make others pay a high price’ at Imola