Sergio Perez emotional after opening lap exit from Mexico City GP

Sergio Perez's Mexico City GP only lasted one corner after contact with Charles Leclerc

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Sergio Perez has taken full responsibility for the opening lap incident which took him out of the 2023 Mexico City Grand Prix as he attempted to take the lead against Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen.

Perez came into the weekend as the apple of the home crowd’s eye and was looking to put a tricky qualifying session behind him, trying to finally win his home grand prix from a lowly fifth.

But Perez‘s race was destroyed at turn one as contact with Leclerc at the start damaged his Red Bull beyond repair, condemning him to a second retirement of 2023.

“I’ve had some really sad moments in my career, but certainly this the saddest one,” Perez told to the media. “But at the end of the day, this is just racing.

“We gave it all I knew that today, I really wanted to go for the win. I saw the gap, and I went for it. 

“I was not expecting Charles to brake that late because I was already ahead of him, and he was in the middle.

“So there’s a lot less room for manoeuvre it was just too late, but with these wide cars, three cars don’t go into one, I decided to take the risk, and I paid the price.”

Perez has no regrets over opening lap move

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez squeeze Charles Leclerc at the start of the 2023 Mexico City GP | Mark Thompson/Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

With Perez out of the race, some of the home crowd left the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez early after seeing the Mexican climb out of his Red Bull.

It is the second time Perez has retired from his home race as he failed to finish the 2018 Mexican GP after suffering a brake failure on Lap 38.

With Red Bull clinching the 2023 constructors’ championship at the Japanese GP, Perez will need to rebound at next Sunday’s Brazilian GP if he wants to help secure second place in the drivers’ championship. 

“I feel, to be honest, that I would have let them down more if I didn’t wait for it if I’m honest,” stated Perez. “So I saw the gap, and I went for it I decided to take a risk. 

“I knew it was going to be very risky. And I ended up paying the price. Risk-reward, it was a pretty high risk take, but it was worth taking. 

“It’s the last thing that you want to happen is just this the situation, but it’s how it is we just have to look forward.”

Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
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