Sergio Perez has apologized to his Red Bull team for a qualifying error that ultimately ruined his Monaco Grand Prix.
The Mexican driver realized he had paid the price for a mistake in Q1 that saw him crash into the barrier at Ste Devote, causing him to start the race around the Principality from the back of the grid.
It was a Grand Prix where Perez pitted five times, ran into the rear of Kevin Magnussen when the Dane’s Haas briefly entered anti-stall, hit a wall and collided with George Russell’s Mercedes as the Brit tried to get back on track after a mistake.
When asked simply what went wrong, Perez replied: “Yesterday!
“I think we paid the price for my mistake. It was very expensive.
“I just have to apologize to my entire team because a mistake like this is unacceptable.
“I just have to move on, learn from it and I can’t afford another championship zero.”
“The whole mess” – Perez
Perez started the weekend 14 points behind teammate Max Verstappen and enjoying a reputation as the “King of the Streets” only to drop 39 points after The Dutch driver again performed majestically, winning his 39th race for Red Bull.
The nickname recognized his skills on street circuits as all five of his wins for Red Bull came at such circuits, including Monaco last year, and Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan this season.
However, Perez never looked happy on the occasion and a mistake he made in qualifying may regret even more this year if he stays in contention for the drivers’ championship.
There were flashes of good driving throughout the race, especially after stopping after the first lap to switch from medium to hard in order to reach the checkered flag, but ultimately it was all over the place.
Things were going really well, Perez thought. “Unfortunately I got into traffic quite early and that pulled us back to our original position.
“I broke the front wing with Magnussen who just braked from the chicane and yes, I just came back.
“Then the rain came. We were one of the last ones to pit and then I hit the wall. It was just a mess.”
Barcelona cannot come quickly enough for Perez
Team principal Christian Horner suggested it was a race Perez needed to finish quickly.
“It was a terrible weekend for Checo,” said Horner. “It went wrong in Q1 and that puts you behind.
“We took a really aggressive strategy, we stopped on the first lap and you could see his free air pace and how much others were saving.
“He was actually back in Esteban Ocon’s service window, but then (Logan) Sargeant and others started to struggle and of course you can’t overtake. Then he got into a fight with Russell and damaged his front wing.
“It’s just one of those weekends where nothing went his way. He had a powerful defense at the pool (complex) and probably had to change his underwear after that.
“But it was just one of those weekends for him where you turn the page and I think the sooner we get to Barcelona the better.”
The Spanish Grand Prix will start on Friday with first practice at 1.30pm local time (9.30pm AEST).
Sign here to receive our daily newsletters and breaking news alerts sent directly to your inbox.