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Sergio Perez failed to reach Q3 for the fourth consecutive time in 2023, as his Q2 session at the Red Bull Ring ended in utter disappointment and he could only watch on as his teammate, Max Verstappen, went on to claim his fourth pole position in a row.
The Mexican did three flying laps in the second qualifying session, but all three were deleted because he exceeded track limits in the final sector. All three laps were good enough to place him inside the top ten, but he will start Sunday’s Grand Prix from fifteenth. His first two timed laps were deleted due to him going wide on the entry to the final corner, but on his last one he went slightly wide at the exit as he was following Alex Albon, who was about to start his own flying lap. The driver of Williams was not investigated regarding any blocking incidents by the stewards.
Following his crash during Q1 at Monaco, his excursion and slow pace in Barcelona and wrong decisions during Q2 in Canada, his fourth consecutive qualifying result outside the top ten means his average qualifying position is only 14.5 in the last four Grands Prix. Taking his Q1 exit at Melbourne into account, the Mexican has only gotten to Q3 on four occasions this season, less than drivers like Nico Hulkenberg, Lando Norris and both Alpine drivers.
Perez is in a real slump recently and he has to get over it, as rumblings about him getting replaced by the current reserve driver at Red Bull, Daniel Ricciardo, have gained traction in the past few weeks. The rumors are in regards to the 2024 seat though, so Perez still has the chance to recover in the upcoming races.
Speaking to Lawrence Barretto of F1 TV, Sergio Perez blamed his Q2 exit on Alex Albon and the system that is in place for track limits:
On the way [to the last lap] we were a bit confused, but then once I got the feedback that it was on the way into turn 10, it was all clear. I was on a good lap, but then all of the sudden on my final lap, I found Albon and I just went straight. I could not stop. I think I lost a tenth or a bit more than that just by going straight, but the stewards wouldn’t consider that I was blocked.
There are so many things I can control and unfortunately, this one, you’re closing a good lap and then all of the sudden you are blocked and you have a penalty. I think the system is wrong.
The qualifying session was full of time deletions, with the last two corners on the track in particular proving troublesome for the drivers. Oscar Piastri and Esteban Ocon also fell foul of the track limits and as a result were eliminated at the end of Q2 along with the Red Bull driver.
Perez will have to recover from fifteenth on Sunday. Before that though, he will have the chance for a good result on Sprint Saturday, which will feature a shorter qualifying session and the sprint race.
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