2023 Singapore GP: Sergio Perez’s mindset questioned as embarrassment could be repeated

The Singapore GP is the first street race since the Monaco GP, where Sergio Perez crashed in Q1.

Formula 1 presenter Tom Clarkson has questioned where Sergio Perez’s mind will be come qualifying at this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, given what happened to the Red Bull driver at the last street track.

Singapore is the most demanding race on the F1 calendar, given the high heats and unbearable humidity the drivers are faced with.

However, it’s a venue where Perez has thrived in the past, with him having claimed victory at the Marina Bay Circuit 12 months ago.

He heads to Singapore this weekend on the back of a solid recovery at the Italian Grand Prix, where finished second after starting in fifth.

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The Mexican did crash during Free Practice at Monza though, something he cannot afford to do this weekend.

Crashes at Singapore are virtually always extremely costly, due to how much more damage a wall can do compared to a tyre barrier.

The most recent street race to have taken place this season was the Monaco Grand Prix, where Perez, of course, crashed heavily in Q1.

He crashed at the opening corner which destroyed his weekend, given that he started at the back of the grid at a venue where overtaking is effectively impossible.

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Whilst overtaking is possible in Singapore, qualifying is still massively important, and can be the difference between a good weekend and a bad one.

Given what happened in Monaco, Clarkson wonders whether Perez will hold some of his pace back to simply get through qualifying without crashing, with the presenter labelling it as a “complex mind game” because of what happened at the Principality.

“You do need to qualify well. It will be really interesting to see what Checo [Perez] can pull together there,” Clarkson said on the F1 Nation podcast.

“I think back to Monaco where he crashed in Q1 at Sainte Devote and so that was his weekend destroyed.

“I do wonder how something like that weighs on the mind of a driver. The last proper street track Checo had that Q1 exit.

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“So, when he goes into Q1 this coming weekend, he knows he’s got to keep it clean because he cannot afford a crash, an elimination that early in the session.

“Does that mean he leaves in a bit in reserve and then gets caught out? All these things, it’s such a complex mind game.

“Whereas Max [Verstappen] at the minute is driving with so much confidence and there’s not a negative thought anywhere near Max Verstappen.”