Verstappen names and shames culprit for Mexico City GP Perez-Leclerc crash

Max Verstappen won the 2023 Mexico City GP after a chaotic opening lap


Max Verstappen blamed Sergio Perez for the opening-lap crash with Charles Leclerc at the 2023 Mexico City Grand Prix, saying he should’ve left the Ferrari more space on the inside.

Perez‘s race was over after turn one when he turned in on Leclerc, who was sandwiched between the Red Bulls after a poor start and couldn’t escape the aggressive home driver.

Perez was attempting to swoop around the outside and into the lead with the possibility of becoming the first-ever Mexican to win on home soil, but instead was forced to retire and saw his gap to Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’ championship cut in half.

“I understand because it’s his home grand prix, you want to be on the podium,” Verstappen told the media. “I fully understand that he went around the outside and he tried.

“Looking at the footage, I think he could have left a little bit more space but at the other end if it would have worked, you look amazing.

“And I think it’s just more like that excitement of wanting to be on the podium and this time it didn’t work out, unfortunately.”

Verstappen: I wasn’t nervous at turn one

Race winner Max Verstappen celebrates on the podium of the 2023 Mexico City GP | Mark Thompson/Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Verstappen added he wasn’t nervous about going three-wide in the opening corner as he planted himself in the perfect position on the inside, before he sailed away to take a record-breaking 16th win in 2023.

That surpasses his own tally from a year ago, while it’s also Verstappen‘s fifth victory at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez making it his most successful track in Formula 1.

He needed to navigate a red flag restart after Kevin Magnussen‘s heavy crash, but never looked troubled on the run to turn one with Mercedes and Ferrari fighting amongst themselves for the remainder of the race.

“No, not nervous at all, I mean, it’s not the first time that I’ve been two-wide or three-wide into turn one here,” Verstappen added. “We all trust each other. And of course you are all on the limit braking into the corner, but it was all fine, I think.

“But then I saw on my outside that something happened. But luckily we could stay out of trouble on the inside.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for and in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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