F1 pundit’s scathing Perez verdict: ‘Forgotten his race craft'

Ex-F1 driver Jolyon Palmer has taken aim at Sergio Perez for seemingly ‘forgetting’ how to race wheel-to-wheel. 
F1 pundit’s scathing Perez verdict: ‘Forgotten his race craft'

Perez suffered what his Red Bull team principal Christian Horner described as being a “shocker” of a Japanese Grand Prix, in which he picked up two five-second penalties and had contact with Lewis Hamilton and Kevin Magnussen, before being forced to retire.

It followed another tricky weekend in Singapore, where Perez picked up a five-second penalty for wrecking Alex Albon’s race, having also rammed Yuki Tsunoda on the first lap. 

The pair of torrid outings have left the Mexican 175 points adrift of teammate Max Verstappen in the championship and facing further scrutiny over his Red Bull future.

Writing in his latest column for the official F1 website, former Renault driver Palmer said the incidents, particularly a clumsy crash with Magnussen, smack of desperation. 

“We’ve seen the best of Perez in wheel-to-wheel fighting, whether it was helping out his team mate in 2021 in battles with Hamilton, winning his first Grand Prix from the back of the field in Sakhir back in 2020, or even charging back for some results in races this season, such as at Melbourne,” Palmer wrote. 

F1 pundit’s scathing Perez verdict: ‘Forgotten his race craft'

“Right now though we’ve had a couple of races where his race craft has gone completely absent and it’s causing a stir – and questions from the media and drivers alike about the appropriateness of his penalties.

“In Singapore, Perez knocked Yuki Tsunoda into retirement on the opening lap, T-boned Albon out of the points late on and received a redundant five-second penalty that didn’t affect his position, while two of F1’s smaller teams were left to rue huge missed opportunities.

“Again in Japan it was a short lived recovery for Checo as he sent it into the rear of Kevin Magnussen at the Turn 11 hairpin and needlessly turned the Haas driver around, incurring another five-second penalty in the process.

“It was a move that was no doubt borne out of frustration at being in the fastest car and stuck for longer than anticipated behind Sunday’s slowest team, while being desperate to recover some ground. But it was also an utterly hopeless move for a driver who seems to have forgotten his race craft.

“Coming from behind and dangling a front wheel into the back of the car ahead is a recipe for a collision. You have no right to the inside of the corner coming from that far back, without asserting yourself there on the brakes and getting significantly alongside by the time the car ahead wants to turn in to the apex.

“This latest move was unlike the Perez of old who has been good and committed on the brakes – but it was worryingly the same style he adopted in Singapore, which was already a talking point coming into the weekend.” 

Palmer added: “I’m sure a week off now will do Checo some good to regroup before his Qatar clean slate, where he needs to dig in to ensure second place in the championship now.”

Sergio Perez (MEX), Red Bull Racing Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 17, Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, Japan, Practice
Sergio Perez (MEX), Red Bull Racing Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 17,…

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