Perez was momentarily distraught: 'I couldn't be that bad, could I?'

F1 News

sergio perez on 2023 season and grand prix qatar
5 December at 08:00
  • Toby McLuskie

Sergio Perez was at a loss for words. Tenth place, eighty seconds off winner Max Verstappen was up to it. It was mainly the way the Red Bull Racing Mexican's defeat in Qatar arrived: rock hard and basically he did not know how to continue. Perez felt fairly distraught, the Mexican admitted during an interview with several media outlets.

Immediately after the Grand Prix, Perez decided to travel to England to spend three days working in the simulator. Looking back, the vice-world champion calls Qatar 'probably my worst weekend ever in the sport.' "It was such a bad weekend that I really felt like: 'I cannot be this bad, there's something that's going on'," Perez looked back.

Perez saw luck in an accident

After hours of sessions in the simulator, Perez and his engineers came to the conclusion that things had gone pretty wrong with the setup in Qatar. "But once we managed to get on top of that, we understood a lot of things that we were trying to compensate for. And that just basically meant that we were not just not doing things right. I think that has been really, really good on our side. I mean, it was bad that it happened but in a way, it was really good because it really strengthened our team quite a lot."

After the Qatar Grand Prix - where Max Verstappen took his third world title for good - Perez did indeed improve in terms of speed. Yet he did not manage to turn that into gripping results. For instance, the Mexican allowed himself to be outsmarted in the final round of the Brazil GPs (by Alonso) and Las Vegas (by Leclerc). Perez did finish the year as number two in the final driver rankings.