Red Bull driver Sergio Perez left Round 8 of the 2023 F1 season feeling underwhelmed after a tricky Spanish GP weekend.
The Mexican driver suffered more single-lap woes during qualifying at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. He failed to reach Q3, putting his RB19 a lowly 11th. By comparison, teammate and Championship leader Max Verstappen cruised to pole position.
This early setback meant that Perez had to fight his way through the field in the race. While being patient to avoid damage, the Red Bull ace produced a solid comeback to climb up to fourth by the chequered flag.
However, title rival Verstappen had no such difficulties. The Dutchman crushed the chasing pack to win the Spanish Grand Prix by 24 seconds. The Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell came home in second and third respectively.
Overall, Verstappen now has a 53-point advantage over his teammate in the drivers’ standings. This leaves “Checo” with a lot of catching up to do as the 2023 season rumbles on.
He reflected on his challenging weekend after the race.
Sergio Perez laments bad qualifying for Spanish GP disappointment
Speaking to Red Bull Media, Perez blamed his lack of success in Spain on Saturday’s poor performance.
“I am disappointed with today [the race],” admitted the Mexican. “We have ultimately paid the price for bad qualifying. We did have a good strategy, but looking at where we started from there was only so much that we could do.
“I think P3 was possible. But, if we wanted more points, then I would have had to take more risks on lap one and potentially compromise my race.”
Mercedes’ George Russell actually started behind Sergio Perez, in P12. However, he managed to finish ahead of the No.11 Red Bull, who said that he used a more conservative Lap 1 approach.
“We took it easier to ensure we had more of a clean start. Then, we got stuck behind the Aston Martin and Fernando was quite hard to pass. So, it meant I couldn’t progress through the field as quickly as we would have liked.
“This weekend, in general, has been a step back. But there are plenty of things we can do better. We brought home twelve points today and I think, looking forward, Canada should be a strong race for us.
“Everything is pretty close right now, so that will be an interesting one.”
Perez will look to close the gap in the standings to his teammate at the Canadian Grand Prix in two weeks’ time. Last year, he retired on lap seven of the race at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve as Verstappen claimed the win.
Sergio Perez will thus hope the misfortune of 2022’s race and the Spanish GP stays away this time around.
Drivers’ standings: the top 10 after the Spanish Grand Prix
|Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing||170|
|Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing||117|
|Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin||99|
|Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||35|
Featured image credit: Getty