Sergio Perez was mind boggled by the performance Max Verstappen put in at the 2023 Miami Grand Prix, winning from ninth, admitting he could not deliver at the same level.
Sergio Perez came into the Miami Grand Prix weekend on a high, after beating Max Verstappen back in Azerbaijan, both in the Sprint Race and the Grand Prix, and having a serious chance of leading the Formula 1 Championship following the sport’s first weekend stateside this year.
Perez was also talking big, on how he kept Verstappen under control in Baku, how he needs to keep the pressure on him, and how he is a genuine Title contender, and all sorts of things, and when Verstappen messed up in qualifying confining himself to a ninth grid position, many thought Perez might be right to be over-confident, including the driver himself who was set to start the race from pole.
But come Sunday, Verstappen delivered a masterful performance beating Perez from ninth on the grid, the latter having to eat some humble pie, evident from his body language in parc ferme after the race, and what he said later on in Red Bull’s post race media brief.
Not nice when you lead the race and end up second
Perez said: “Well done to Max, he had a tremendous race and deserved to win, I am really happy for him. It is not always nice when you lead the race and end up second, certainly I didn’t have the pace of Max and it is something we are going to analyse to see how we can do better.
“When I saw how strong Max was coming through the field and I was struggling a bit, I thought ‘this isn’t looking too good’. It would have been a gamble on strategy to start on the hard tyre from pole position. Of course, I wanted to win but I knew early on the race was looking tricky for us. This is one to learn from because clearly Max had the fastest pace.
“I think the performance Max showed today was not reachable for me, so I have to understand why,” Perez admitted. “I think some was tyre related but equally, overall, he was the stronger driver today. There was maybe a bit more we could have done; it is a bit of a shame really but in general, on a tough weekend P2 is not a bad result.
“We will review the weekend. I want to get back strong for Imola and get back to our normal level,” the 33-year-old concluded.
It was full dominance from Verstappen who also took the extra point for the fastest lap, now leading the Drivers Championship from Perez by 14 points.