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The championship promise Sergio Perez showcased at the beginning of the season slowly faded away. However, today, at the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix, even though the Mexican finished a stellar 2nd, the nail on his championship coffin was firmly hit. After a string of poor results, Perez raced his own race and secured a deserving podium for himself and Red Bull. However, from a holistic standpoint, he was nowhere near the pace of Max Verstappen, who was a comfortable 20 seconds in the lead.

In reality, the pace deficit isn’t as alarming as Perez’s post-race interview. Throughout the segment, as Martin Brundle quizzed the Mexican about his race, Perez showed a timid and resigned disposition. But a lackluster admission is what revealed truly how he felt.

Sergio Perez gives damning post-race interview

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Perez really wasn’t even close to matching the pace of Verstappen. And even though the duo were on the same compound of rubber after the first rounds of pitstops, the Dutch lion eased past Checo on the Kemmel straight.

After the race, Perez exuded a defeated mentality to admit, “Our goal today was to beat [Charles] Leclerc and we did it. Max [Verstappen] was very fast.[translated via Google]

Perez may have realized his place within the team and Helmut Marko knows the exact moment that defeated him.

How Max Verstappen taught Perez a harsh lesson

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What Max Verstappen does on track makes other drivers look silly. But no one would be feeling sillier than Sergio Perez who, for all intents and purposes, has the exact same car as the Dutch lion. According to team advisor, Helmut Marko, the Miami GP was the time that Verstappen really made a fool out of the Mexican.

via Reuters

He was quoted by Sports Illustrated as saying, “On some street circuits, like in Jeddah and Baku, Checo is really strong. But I think Max taught everyone in Miami, Checo included, a lesson. Nobody can copy the way he has managed his tires in such a way that it is always possible to achieve the fastest lap at the end of the Grand Prix. And imagine what the gaps would have been like if Max had started from pole.”

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Can Sergio Perez prove everybody wrong in the 2nd half of the 2023 Formula 1 season?

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Written by

Anirban Aly Mandal

1,126Articles

One take at a time

Anirban Aly Mandal is a senior F1 writer at EssentiallySports, with over 500 articles published on the platform. Anirban's love for F1 started when he discovered a copy of F1 2014 while playing on his computer, and he has since then dived deep into the world of motorsports. Anirban's expertise goes beyond just writing - he has also written several academic papers focused on the domain of motorsports.
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Edited by

Aishwary Gaonkar