Perez "a passenger" in Saturday nightmare


Sergio Perez blames a technical issue with his brake balance that resulted in one of the worst days of his racing career.

Having used the title "mixed fortunes for Red Bull pair" for our FP3 report, it wouldn't have been right to use it again for qualifying, even if it perfectly summed up the situation.

While Max Verstappen cruised to his second pole position of the year, Sergio Perez, who had had a nightmare final practice seemingly unable to keep his car on the black stuff, had an even worse qualifying, locking up in Turn 3 and subsequently beaching his car in the kitty litter, leaving the Mexican as the very back of the grid.

"We had a bit of a technical issue already from FP3," he told reporters, "and we thought we'd fixed that, but we obviously didn't and it was really difficult.

"It was very difficult to do anything out there," he continued, "just braking... I became a passenger as soon as I touched the brakes.

"It's something that is moving the brake balance quite far forwards under braking and I just hope we are able to fix it as a team tomorrow and be able to race and minimise the damage.

"I don't want to go too much into detail, but I am confident that we will be able to fix it as a team and hopefully minimise the damage tomorrow," he said. "It's going to be a difficult track to overtake."

Following his teammate's driveshaft issue in Jeddah, Perez beleives this blows away claims that Red Bull will dominate the season.

"It shows the margins already in qualifying how close everyone is," he said. "If we are not able to put it all together every single Saturday and Sunday the competition is very strong."

"He's had a horrible day today," team boss, Christian Horner subsequently told Sky Sports. "It started this morning, the car was late off the weighbridge. There was no major issue, and his plan in FP3 was always to run differently to Max, not do a long run, just do two short runs.

"On his first short run, there was this issue. So, he never really recovered from that. And then this lap, which was not going to be a consequential lap, to unfortunately lock up and go off, we are just checking all the data to see if there is something within the engine management that has contributed to that, so we are going through all that as we speak.

"You saw him grab the brakes a couple of times, lock up and run deep and run off, he ran off twice in FP3," said Horner. "On that first lap, he has gone in, pushed quite hard, and locked up and unfortunately run into the gravel, and unfortunately this time not been able to come out the other side. So, we are just looking at what has contributed to that and if there is something, it will not be there tomorrow."

Check out our Saturday gallery from Melbourne here.

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Published: 01/04/2023
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