Checo Perez reveals key turning point which cost him chance to become F1 2023 champion

Sergio Perez is officially mathematically out of title contention and now faces a challenge to keep second place in the F1 drivers' championship

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Sergio Perez believes the 2023 Spanish Grand Prix was a critical event which saw his hopes to become Formula 1 world champion fade away, as Max Verstappen secured the title in Qatar.

After winning the 2023 Saudi Arabian and Azerbaijan GP, Perez‘s title challenge fell apart at the Spanish GP in June following an off in Q2, which left him 12th on the grid before battling his way to fourth.

Max Verstappen dominated in Spain and quickly pulled away in the title race, winning ten consecutive races, while Perez went through a run of five Grand Prix where he failed to reach Q3.

“First of all, Max has done a tremendous job,” Perez told the press. “I think no credit should be taken away from this season. I think he’s driven on another level compared to anyone else.

“That’s something that I have a lot of respect for. From my side, I feel like Barcelona was a turning point. I was always chasing the weekend more.

“Sometimes you have weekends where things are coming a lot more naturally, and you [are] just two or three steps ahead. I feel like since Barcelona, I was starting to struggle and have some deficits with the car.”

Sergio Perez of Red Bull in the garage during Spanish GP 2023 practice | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

No difference between 2022 and 2023 constructors’ championships

Although Perez endured a 2023 Japanese GP to forget, after retiring on Lap 15 following several incidents, Red Bull secured their sixth constructors’ championship with relative ease at Suzuka with Verstappen‘s victory.

Verstappen and Perez have won 16 out of 17 races in 2023 so far, with the only defeat coming at Singapore when Ferrari‘s Carlos Sainz took victory, ending Red Bull’s bid for a perfect season.

“It’s great to keep that momentum going in [the] team,” explained Perez when asked about the differences between the 2022 and 2023 F1 constructors’ championships. “I think that has been something incredible for [the] team to achieve.

“Because I’ll say last year was harder to get because Ferrari had a faster car than us, at least for more than half of the season. We still managed to get it.

“But the way we got this one, I think, with a more dominant car. They’re just different, but at the end of the day, they mean the same.”

Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
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