The Mexican driver, who is already under pressure and facing questions about his future with Red Bull, hit the wall just minutes into the session on Friday’s free practice at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Sergio Perez suffered a new low during the Hungarian Grand Prix when he crashed just four minutes into FP1. Former racing driver Danica Patrick believes that the mounting pressure from both Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo is taking its toll on Perez’s performance.
Pressure from Ricciardo & Tsunoda
At the beginning of the season, Perez was in the thick of the championship fight, securing two victories in the opening four races and trailing just six points behind Verstappen in the standings. However, as the season progressed, his challenge began to crumble, and with it, his confidence.
Perez’s struggles are evident in his recent performances. He has failed to make it into Q3 for five consecutive weekends, and despite having one of the fastest cars on the grid, he could only manage one podium finish. The growing points gap between him and his teammate Verstappen stands at a significant 99 points in the title race. The mounting pressure from two strong competitors seems to be affecting Perez’s overall performance on the track.
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Patrick believes pressure has ‘doubled’ for Perez
Sky Sports F1 guest pundit Danica Patrick believes that Sergio Perez has been feeling the pressure throughout the year, especially with the challenge of being Max Verstappen’s teammate. As Verstappen, a double World Champion and 43-time grand prix winner, continues to excel, Perez’s performance has struggled, adding to the mounting pressure.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1 ahead of Friday’s running, Patrick mentioned that the pressure reached another level when talks surfaced about someone potentially taking Perez’s seat, given his connection with the developmental fold. Despite the pressure, she acknowledged that both Perez and Daniel Ricciardo manage to put on a strong front.
“I’m sure he has been feeling the pressure all year, the pressure situation of being Max’s team-mate, but also his performance struggling throughout the year and Max being so much faster and winning so many races,”
“I’m sure he’s been feeling the pressure, but things do have levels of getting more real, and so when the conversation is about someone taking your seat having been in that developmental fold, it’s going to add just another layer of it.
“Just like Daniel, Sergio puts on a pretty good face too. At the end of the day, when you jump in the car there’s only mode and that is ‘go’. So you can rely on that as a driver that you go into those automatic driving modes.”
Brundle’s shock comments on ‘rookie’ error
Sky Sports F1 pundit and co-commentator Martin Brundle expressed his disbelief and disappointment at Sergio Perez’s mistake during FP1 at the Hungaroring, describing it as a “rookie error.”
Brundle, during the Sky Sports F1 broadcast after FP1, couldn’t comprehend the error made by Perez, saying, “I can’t get my head around that. It is a rookie error.”
He further elaborated on the incident, highlighting the extent of the mistake. “He was on the grass by a meter or something. I can’t get my head around it at all.”
The shunt raises concerns for Red Bull, especially as they consider their expectations from Perez going forward. Brundle emphasized the importance of Perez not damaging the newly upgraded sidepods and other components.
Red Bull was hoping to get valuable running in the dry with their extreme cooling setup for the sidepods, but Perez’s early crash disrupted their plans. Brundle pointed out that the level of experience the drivers have at Red Bull means such incidents were unnecessary and could have been avoided.
“What they don’t want him doing is throwing all the new upgraded sidepods and bits and pieces in the fence.” Brundle comments,
“Then they didn’t get much running in the other car either in the dry, where they’ve got quite an extreme cooling situation going on there with the sidepods.
“They needed to be up and running and the level that they’re at, the experience that the drivers have got at Red Bull, they did not need that.”