Sergio Perez had a terrible 2023 Monaco Grand Prix, crashing out from Qualifying and starting dead last, never having a chance of scoring points all race long.
Perez won last year’s Monaco Grand Prix, benefitting from one of those Formula 1 weekends when Max Verstappen was out of sorts, as well as Ferrari’s usual strategy shenanigans which cost the 2022 Monaco polesitter and home hero Charles Leclerc the win.
But one year later drew a different picture, as despite looking good to challenge his teammate for pole, based on what we’ve seen in the final practice and first few laps of Q1, Perez binned his RB19 at Saint Devote, relegating himself to a Sunday afternoon of misery around the streets of the principality.
Former F1 Driver and respected pundit Martin Brundle, touched on Perez’s qualifying shunt in his latest Sky SportsF1 column; he wrote: “It is still easy enough to crash [in Monaco] of course and the driver who suffered most was last year’s winner and street circuit specialist Sergio Perez.
“Early into the first part of qualifying he simply arrived too quickly into Saint Devote Turn 1 and smashed into the outside barrier. He’d likely been a little distracted by an Alpine getting out of his way by diving into the long pit-lane exit, but whatever the reason it put a huge dent in his Red Bull car and his championship battle with team-mate Max Verstappen,” Brundle explained.
Verstappen electric, Perez testing tyres
Brundle was full of praise for Verstappen, who took pole by 0.084s under extreme pressure from Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso. He commented: “Verstappen’s final lap to take pole position was simply electric.
“Alonso and the Aston Martin were plain faster all weekend through a handful of corners and he had to throw caution to the wind and just send the Red Bull, skimming walls and barriers along the way. His final sector of that lap was outrageous,” he added.
Going back to Perez, he spent all the race on the wrong end of the grid, unable to make any advances, and at one point clipping the rear tyre of a Haas trying to overtake, and as the rain came, he was used by his team a “guinea pig”, according to Brundle, to test the whether intermediate or full wet tyres were best for the conditions.
After winning the sprint race and the Grand Prix in Baku, Perez was talking big on how he can challenge Verstappen for the title, only to get a reality check in Miami, when the Dutchman won from ninth on the grid, beating the pole-starting Mexican.
Brundle ended his column with what could be a word of advice for Perez; he wrote: “What I learned when I was in direct competition with Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen, and I simply couldn’t match their raw speed and gifted talents, was to maximise everything that was in my control such as car race set-up, starts, in laps, out laps, traffic management and so on.
“Sergio would be better off making sure he finishes second and accepting the genius of Verstappen, and then maximise the days when he delivers his own special magic, such as Singapore last year and Baku this season,” Brundle, a veteran of 158 Grands Prix concluded.