Sergio Perez fires warning about championship fight with Max Verstappen

Sergio Perez's P16 at Monaco marked his first non-points finish of the 2023 season.

Sergio Perez endured a woeful weekend at the Monaco Grand Prix, with the Mexican having slipped to 39 points behind Max Verstappen in the Drivers’ Championship after finishing 16th.

Last weekend was by far the worst of Perez’s season, 12 months on from his famous victory at the Circuit de Monaco.

Given his sublime record at street tracks, the 33-year-old entered the weekend as one of the favourites; however, his “unacceptable” error in qualifying eradicated any chance of him claiming back-to-back wins at the Principality.

Perez started the sixth round of the season from last after crashing at the opening corner in Q1, allowing the entire paddock to see the RB19’s floor whilst it was lifted to safety.

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The Red Bull driver instantly owned up to the mistake and now recognises that he must score good points at every remaining race, if he wants to challenge Verstappen.

“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,” Perez said.

“I have to move on, learn from it, and I cannot afford another zero in the championship.”

Perez would’ve likely finished considerably higher than 16th in the race had he not hit traffic, quite literally.

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Checo drove into the back of Kevin Magnussen at the Nouvelle Chicane after the Dane appeared to suddenly slow, with the Mexican believing the incident occurred due to the Haas driver having braked too late for the chicane.

The incident ultimately summed up Perez’s Sunday afternoon, with the late downpour having caught him out.

Perez unbelievably made five pit stops on Sunday, with him openly admitting that “it was just all a mess”.

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“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,” Perez added.

“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.”