Sergio Perez’s Strategy Blunder Costs Him Pole Position at the Mexico City Grand Prix
In a shocking turn of events at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Sergio Perez, the Red Bull driver, had his hopes of securing pole position on home soil dashed due to a strategy call during qualifying for the Mexico City Grand Prix. Perez fell short by 0.257s, trailing behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who managed to claim the top spot in a surprising front-row lockout for the Scuderia. Perez’s teammate, Max Verstappen, qualified third, 0.097s slower than Leclerc. Consequently, Perez will have to start his home race from fifth on the grid, placing him behind Daniel Ricciardo of AlphaTauri, who secured the fourth position.
One could argue that Perez anticipated Ricciardo’s noteworthy performance, but he firmly believes that the outcome of the qualifying session would have been drastically different had he not used an extra set of tires in Q2. In response to whether he expected AlphaTauri to split the two Red Bulls, Perez responded, “Yes, and the Ferrari as well, but it is what it is.” He further explained that the team’s progression in Q3 was hindered by the loss of an unnecessary set of tires, which drastically impacted their chances of closing the gap with their rivals.
Acknowledging Ricciardo’s remarkable lap time, Perez admitted that his future at Red Bull might face increased pressure due to other drivers vying for his seat. “I don’t think it’s just Daniel who wants my seat. Let’s say there are a lot of other drivers that want to be in that seat, and it’s great. If it’s what they deserve then [I’m] happy for them,” shared Perez.
Nevertheless, Perez view his fourth-place finish in Austin positively, considering it a step in the right direction. He remains optimistic about building on that result and expects to make progress despite the challenges faced during qualifying. “Yes, we already made the progress in Austin, we are also making progress here, so I think we are on a good level with the car,” he expressed.
Perez highlighted the difficulties encountered on the track, explaining that each set of tires performed differently, making it challenging to maximize their potential. However, he expressed confidence in their set-up, mentioning that they have narrowed down on potential issues and are starting with much closer set-ups, allowing them to focus on achieving the desired results.
As Perez aims to improve on his previous best results of third in Mexico City in 2021 and 2022, he acknowledges the race ahead will pose significant challenges. However, he remains determined and plans to pull off something special, even though overtaking on this track proves challenging. “It’s going to be very tricky tomorrow, but there is a long race ahead,” he emphasized. “I will try to pull something special for tomorrow and see what happens. I will try [to win]. It’s a track that’s difficult to overtake, but we will try to make progress early on.”
In conclusion, Sergio Perez’s hopes of securing pole position at the Mexico City Grand Prix were dashed due to a strategy blunder during qualifying. Despite the setback, he remains positive about his progress and is determined to make strides in the race. The competition at the top of the grid is fierce, with Ricciardo’s impressive performance adding to the pressure on Perez’s future with Red Bull. However, Perez is ready to take on the challenge and strive for a remarkable finish in front of his home crowd. The race promises to be a thrilling spectacle, with Perez looking to shine and secure a well-deserved victory.