Sunday, July 14, 2024
HomesportPerez out of home Mexican GP after first-corner collision

Perez out of home Mexican GP after first-corner collision

MEXICO CITY :Red Bull’s Sergio Perez retired from his home Mexican Grand Prix after colliding with Ferrari’s pole-sitter Charles Leclerc at the first corner on Sunday.

Perez, already under pressure after a run of poor form, tried to pass the Ferrari around the outside but their wheels made contact, with the Red Bull pitched into the air and on to the run-off with sidepod damage while Leclerc continued.

The Mexican got his car back to the pits and stayed in it for a long while before getting out, hitting the steering wheel in frustration.

“I am aware that I took a big risk today but I forgot about the championship and I forgot about everything else, I was only thinking about winning today,” Perez told reporters.

This year’s race has drawn a record 400,639 attendance, most of them coming to cheer on a home hero who said before the weekend that it was his most important race of the season.

Perez had stood proudly at the singing of the national anthem and the crowd at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez yelled his name before the nightmare unfolded and tears replaced the cheers.

The Red Bull driver had started fifth and made a quick getaway, with triple champion Max Verstappen going past Leclerc on the inside to take the lead as the Ferrari was caught in a sandwich.

“I didn’t think that Leclerc was going to brake so late because he was in the middle and I had already passed him, I didn’t expect him to be there,” added Perez.

While the Mexican will remain second in the championship standings after starting the race with a 39-point advantage over Mercedes’s Lewis Hamilton, the blank will fuel further speculation about his future at Red Bull.

“For me a podium in Mexico would not have been enough, today I wanted to win and when I had the chance I risked it and maybe risked too much, but I would do it again cause I’m very proud of the work of the team and myself over this weekend,” Perez said.

The team and Verstappen, who is chasing a record 16th win of the season, have already won both championships.

(Writing by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Clare Fallon)

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