Verstappen, Hamilton and Leclerc react to Sergio Perez accident

Lewis Hamilton compared Sergio Perez's opening lap retirement at the 2023 Mexican GP to his incident in Qatar.

Sergio Perez’s opening lap retirement from the Mexican Grand Prix on Sunday was the leading conversation in the cooldown room after the race, between race winner Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc.

It was Leclerc who the home hero actually collided with at Turn 1 on the opening lap at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, to the disbelief of the Mexican supporters.

Several were even spotted leaving after Checo was forced to retire, due to significant damage to the floor of his RB19.

Starting from fifth, Perez made an exceptional start to pull alongside polesitter Leclerc as they approached the first corner.

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Perez was on the left of the Monegasque, who was sandwiched between the 33-year-old and Max Verstappen.

Nobody was prepared to bail as they turned into the first corner, with there having simply not been enough room.

Perez seemed to simply not given Leclerc enough room, resulting in his right-rear tyre hitting Leclerc’s front-left tyre and his front-wing.

The impact launched the rear of Perez’s car into the sky, with it’s heavy impact back onto the track having caused the substantial floor damage.

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Unsurprisingly, Perez entered the pits at the end of the first lap and was forced to retire, whilst Leclerc remarkably continued and finished in third.

Leclerc completed almost the entirety of the race without a left front-wing endplate, which flew off after the first few laps as a result of the collision with Perez.

The accident was being played in the cooldown room after the race, to which a conversation unfolded between Verstappen, Hamilton and Leclerc.

“Was he out?” Hamilton asked, after watching the accident on the TV in the cooldown room.

“Yes,” replied Verstappen.

Hamilton appeared to be stunned that the collision resulted in retirement for Perez, before Leclerc admitted that he was shocked that he made it to the end of the race.

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“I don’t know how I finished the race,” admitted Leclerc.

When watching the replay of the collision, Hamilton joked that Perez was “me in Qatar”, where the seven-time World Champion retired on the opening lap at the Lusail International Circuit after hitting George Russell.

“Where’s he going? Oh s***! Haha, he’s me in Qatar!”