Who knows how things may flow in Formula 1? A sport that’s so severe to the tiniest of mistakes, Formula 1 can make or break champions at the turn of the next approaching corner.
And truth be told, it’s not always what happens in the actual Grand Prix, but the key event preceding it, that decides the fortunes of a driver.
Quite frankly, none better than Red Bull driver Sergio Perez would know this given what transpired a few short days ago over the course of a dramatic 2023 Monaco Grand Prix.
Though, at his end, Sergio Perez’s fate at the Monaco Grand Prix had been sealed a few hours earlier during the qualifying event.
Someone who couldn’t participate in Q2 and ditto for Q3, a rare mistake in the opening stages of Q3 that saw Perez go straight into the barrier at the exit of a tricky corner smashed not just his Red Bull machine, but also the hopes of doing something to reckon with on the forthcoming Sunday.
And that wasn’t just an ordinary mistake; as it now stands with championship leader Max Verstappen taking a strong 39 point lead over his teammate, Perez would have to begin his Monaco run from further down the grid and actually at the back of the stack.
You don’t want such a thing. You just don’t look forward to entertaining such a predicament especially at a track where overtaking is next to- if not entirely- impossible.
And as the 78-lap race wore on, Sergio Perez saw the real challenge of the rearguard position come true finding it exceedingly hard to even overcome cars that were significantly slower than the Red Bull’s race pace.
Think the McLaren of Oscar Piastri. Think the likes of Magnussen, Hulkenberg and even an ailing Lance Stroll who’d incurred damage owing to one of the Haas’s erroneous driving manoeuvre.
While surely, winning at Monaco and thus doing a repeat of his sensational performance as seen last year at the princely streets may have always seemed a touch difficult given Verstappen’s breathtaking form, had Sergio Perez emerged unscathed in qualifying, he may well have fought for a podium finish.
What that would have done, therefore, was that it would’ve further cemented his position as one of the strongest contenders for the ongoing season’s title crown; as it is, putting up a strong fight to Verstappen is nothing shy than some onerous challenge on its own.
Alas, what Perez did emerge with at the end of the day, was a far from satisfying sixteenth; the Mexican would finish ahead of Hulkenberg but behind Tsunoda.
Surely, any claims that Perez’s championship hopes have suffered irreparable damage at the back of a single race result is perhaps too far fetched a claim to be making now.
Though, truth be told, it’s going to be a rocky road ahead for the talented Mexican given Verstappen is only helping his own cause with every single Grand Prix, gaining wins and shattering records nearly every weekend.
Besides, none other than Fernando Alonso, now just twelve points adrift of the other Red Bull racer (Aston Martin driver is on third), is coming to life.
The road from here appears to be getting more difficult for Perez, a driver we so admire, a driver that desperately needs to claw back into form having already won two Grands Prix this year.