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Formula 1 Monaco GP

Perez “cannot afford another zero” in F1 2023 season

Sergio Perez says he “cannot afford another zero in the championship” after finishing 16th in Formula 1’s Monaco Grand Prix.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19, Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-23

The Red Bull driver lined up last for Sunday’s race, having crashed out of qualifying in Q1.

He went on to pit five times in a dismal race which saw him lapped twice by team-mate and race winner Max Verstappen, who now leads the championship by 39 points.

Despite it marking Perez’s first scoreless race of the season, the Mexican said his mistake was “very costly” and “unacceptable".

He said: “We paid the price for my mistake and 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 have to move on, learn from it, and I cannot afford another zero in the championship.”

Despite the poor result, Perez had started the race “really well”, running 15th by lap 30 before falling back down the order after several incidents and a period of rain.

He also made contact with Haas driver Kevin Magnussen at the chicane on lap 34, breaking his front wing.

Perez said he had “no idea what was going on” during the incident but had “quite some damage.”

He added: “It was going really well. Unfortunately, I hit the traffic fairly early and that put us back to our original position. Then the rain came, we were one of the last ones to pit.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19, Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C43

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19, Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C43

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

“Then I clipped the wall and it was just all a mess. I broke my front wing with Magnussen who just broke [deep] out of the chicane and it just went bad.

“When you are in those positions, you always have to risk a lot.”

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said it was a “horrible weekend” for Perez, blaming his poor results on the qualifying crash which “puts you on the back foot.”

He also said Perez had been within a pit window of Ocon before getting stuck behind slow-moving traffic.

Horner said: “We took a really aggressive strategy. Was stopped on lap one and you could see his pace in free air and how much the others were saving.

“He actually got back within a pit window of Esteban Ocon, and then [Logan] Sargeant and the slow cars were starting to struggle and, of course, you can’t overtake.

“Then he got involved in a kerfuffle with [George] Russell and damaged the front wing. It was just one of those weekends where nothing went his way.

“He had a massive save in the swimming pool, so he probably needed a new pair of underwear after that.

“It’s just been one of those weekends for him where [he should] turn the page and I would think, for him, the sooner he can get to Barcelona, the better.”

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