‘Very sad’ Sergio Perez doesn’t regret costly attack

Sergio Perez's 2023 Mexican GP was effectively over within the opening 10 seconds of the race.

Sergio Perez was “very sad” at the Mexican Grand Prix but admitted he didn’t regret trying to take the race lead at the opening corner, despite the fact his attempt resulted in a race-ending collision with Charles Leclerc.

Starting from fifth at his home race, Perez made a “tremendous start”, which saw him fill a huge gap left by Charles Leclerc on the outside on the run into Turn 1.

Perez was on the outside whilst Max Verstappen – who made an equally good start from third – was on the inside, with Leclerc having been stuck in the middle.

There simply wasn’t the room for all three drivers as they all tried to turn into the corner, resulting in Perez and Leclerc colliding.

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Perez’s right-rear tyre tagged Leclerc’s front-left tyre and his front wing, which sent the back of the Checo’s car skywards.

The 33-year-old’s floor took an enormous blow as his RB19 bounced back onto the circuit, with pieces of carbon fibre having flown off the underside of it.

Checo did well to avoid going into the barrier at the end of the Turn 1 runoff; however, he was forced to retire from the race at the end of the opening lap, a decision which was made after he peeled into the pits.

His retirement broke the hearts of thousands of fans at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, with hundreds having been seen leaving the circuit not long after the 33-year-old’s race was over, according to reports.

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Despite the misery, Perez is “really proud” that he at least tried to get into the lead at the first corner, as he admitted that he would’ve been “disappointed” had he finished on the podium without trying to win.

“I had a tremendous start,” Perez said, as reported by Sky Sports F1.

“The gap was there and if I’m fully honest, since I was starting the race, I would have been really disappointed to be on the podium today knowing that I had a chance to go for the lead and I didn’t took it.

“I just went for it. I wasn’t expecting Charles in the middle. He had less room to move to break as late as I did or Max did. I think there was simply no room for three cars. It was a total race incident and – I shouldn’t say this – but in hindsight I should back off and go home.

“Especially at your home Grand Prix and being two times in a row on the podium. I just wanted to give it all and I went totally for it. I’m very sad but on the other hand I’m really proud of myself because I gave it all.

“We had probably the best start of the year so we just went for it.”

With the next Grand Prix taking place in just a handful of days in Brazil, Perez doesn’t have too long to focus on the sadness of retiring from his home event.

He’s confident that “the result will come” eventually and that he does have the pace to be amongst the front.

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Perez has “no doubt” that he’ll bounce back at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

“The result will come. We are back there and our pace is there,” Perez added.

“I’m more sad about the end result. You see with a lot of drivers that they have bad weekends when they’re not fully comfortable. You look at the weekend from Fernando and it’s not like all of a sudden he’s a bad driver, this is just part of the game and I have no doubts I will be back for Sao Paulo.”