Perez issues apology to Red Bull
By Ian Parkes
Monday 29th May, 2023 - 5:06pm
Sergio Perez has apologised to his Red Bull team for a mistake in qualifying that ultimately ruined his Monaco Grand Prix.
The Mexican driver recognised he paid the price for an error in Q1 that saw him smack into a barrier at Ste Devote and left him starting the race around the Principality from the back of the grid.
It was a grand prix in which Perez pitted five times, run into the back of Kevin Magnussen when the Dane’s Haas momentarily went into anti-stall, hit a wall, and collide with George Russell’s Mercedes as the Briton attempted to rejoin the track after an error.
Asked simply as to what went wrong, Perez replied: “Yesterday!
“I think we paid the price for my mistake. That’s been very costly.
“I just have to apologise to my whole team because it is unacceptable to have this kind of mistake.
“I just have to move on, learn from it, and I cannot afford another zero in the championship.”
“All of a mess” – Perez
Perez went into the weekend 14 points adrift of team-mate Max Verstappen and with a reputation as the ‘King of the Streets’, only to leave 39 behind after the Dutch driver again performed majestically to win his 39th race for Red Bull.
The moniker recognised his ability on street tracks as all five of his wins for Red Bull have been on such circuits, including Monaco last year, as well as in Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan this season.
Perez, however, never looked comfortable on this occasion, with his error in qualifying one he may well come to regret further later this year should he remain in contention for the drivers’ championship.
There were flashes of fine driving during the race, particularly after stopping after the first lap to switch from the medium to the hard tyre in a bid to run to the chequered flag, but ultimately it was one to forget
“It was going really well,” reflected Perez. “Unfortunately, I hit the traffic fairly early and that pulled us back to the original position.
“I broke my front wing with Magnussen who just braked out of the chicane and yeah, I just went back.
“Then the rain came. We were one of the last ones to pit, and then I hit the wall. It was just all of a mess.”
Barcelona can’t come quick enough for Perez
Team principal Christian Horner suggested it was a race Perez needed to put behind him quickly.
“It was a horrible weekend for Checo,” said Horner. “It went wrong in Q1, and that puts you on the back foot.
“We took a really aggressive strategy, we stopped on lap one, and you could see his pace in free air, and how much the others were saving.
“He actually got back to within a pit window of Esteban Ocon, but then (Logan) Sargeant and the others started to struggle, and, of course, you can’t overtake. Then he got involved in a kerfuffle with Russell and damaged the front wing.
“It’s just one of those weekends where nothing went his way. He had a massive save in the Swimming Pool (complex), and he probably needed a change of underwear after that.
“But it’s just been one of those weekends for him where you turn the page, and I would think for him, the sooner we can get to Barcelona the better.”
The Spanish Grand Prix starts on Friday, with first practice at 13.30 local time (21.30 AEST).