‘That’s game over’: Jenson Button criticises Sergio Perez after costly error

Sergio Perez will start the 2023 Australian Grand Prix from P20 following an early retirement from qualifying.

2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button has criticised Red Bull driver and former team-mate Sergio Perez, after the Mexican endured a short lived but disastrous qualifying at the Albert Park Circuit, handing a huge advantage to Max Verstappen.

Perez will not be wanting to remember qualifying at the 2023 Australian Grand Prix anytime soon, with the 33-year-old having failed to set a single lap time after beaching his RB19 in the opening minutes of Q1.

The Red Bull driver went off at Turn 3 after appearing to have some type of technical problem, before becoming beached towards the barrier.

Perez knew his qualifying was over as the red flags were suddenly flown for the stricken Red Bull, with the Mexican having been visibly furious.

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Checo furiously stated over the radio that he suffered the “same **** issue” as he did in FP3 a couple of hours before qualifying, where he again went off at Turn 3.

Some form of issue was clearly at play, with Red Bull mechanics having been seen working on Perez’s car just moments before qualifying started.

Whether an issue was to blame for the error or not, Button labelled Perez’s error as “game over”, with the Briton having been surprised to see Checo not “build up” to a fast lap.

“That’s game over for him but that surprises me,” Button said whilst commentating for Sky Sports F1. “He had a tough FP3, but you build up to it.

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“He’s got the quickest car out there – don’t go and put it on the line in the second braking point. Maybe he’s got bigger issues with that car than what we think.”

To make matters worse for Perez, team-mate and championship rival Verstappen will start the Australian GP from pole, meaning the Mexican is certainly facing a tough race on Sunday.

Saturday truly was a nightmare for the Mexican who knows that he can’t let the Dutchman build a lead in the standings, something he’ll likely do on Sunday.

From a driver’s perspective, Button admitted that it’s easy to “carry over” poor performance after having a bad session, with FP3 having been described as “one of the worst sessions” of Checo’s career.

“You do carry it [a bad performance] over,” Button added.

“FP3 was one of the worst sessions he’s ever had. He was very vocal on the radio about that.

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“But I’m just surprised he hasn’t built up to [it]. Just get an easy lap in first and then you build from there.

“But it seems that it’s combined that he struggles with. So he’s hit the brakes and it’s okay, but it’s when he turns into the corner.

“The inside wheel goes light and that’s where the lock up is coming from, so disappointing for him and the whole Red Bull team.”