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Autosport Prime 50 of 2023: #50 Sergio Perez

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One among this yr’s greatest questions in deciding the highest 50 was whether or not Perez deserves to be on the checklist. He’d began 2023 properly, with two wins and two second locations within the opening 4 races to trace at giving Crimson Bull team-mate Max Verstappen greater than a notional title problem.

After his Miami defeat, when Verstappen breezed previous for the lead, Perez’s season began to crumble. In a automotive that has proved to be F1’s most dominant since McLaren’s MP4/4, the Mexican struggled to make common podium appearances, limping to the runner-up place within the championship. The 2 wins get Perez over the road, however he’s fortunate to be on this checklist.

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The place all of it went flawed for Perez in 2023

It appeared that little might cease Perez in Baku. Charles Leclerc bought pole place for each races within the dash weekend, however might do little to cease the Crimson Bull driver from roaring previous on both event. Then there was Max Verstappen’s ill-timed pitstop, as Crimson Bull reacted too shortly to Nyck de Vries’ Flip 5/6 wall-bang and blinked earlier than the security automotive, placing him behind Perez as soon as his team-mate had claimed a less expensive cease.

Whereas main, Perez suffered a small scare when persevering with to chase away Verstappen’s makes an attempt to get inside DRS vary as soon as the Dutchman had caught up. A brush with the Flip 15 exit wall on the thirty fourth lap led to a quick panic, however Perez reckoned that the “actually laborious” contact had truly knocked the suspension right into a barely higher place.

Picture by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

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Victory within the Azerbaijan GP was adopted by a nightmare run of performances

“I believe it was very shut between us,” the Mexican mused post-race. “We pushed to the utmost right this moment, we each clipped the wall a couple of occasions we have been pushing on the market. The best way Max pushed me all through the race was actually laborious however we managed to maintain him below management.”

PLUS: Why Perez’s best race proved to be his F1 2023 downfall

Heading into Miami, the Crimson Bull drivers have been two apiece on wins. Verstappen made a mistake in qualifying, and his second try at a pole-contending lap in Q3 was nixed when Leclerc put his Ferrari within the wall at Flip 7. Pole went to Perez, who spent the primary stint batting away Fernando Alonso as Verstappen started his restoration from ninth on the grid. He was as much as second by lap 15.

Verstappen went lengthy on the laborious tyre in his opening stint, assuming the lead when Perez pitted from the medium tyre to make sure that he was inside touching distance of his team-mate. When Verstappen stopped on lap 45, he spent simply two laps tucked up behind earlier than snatching the result in crush Perez’s hopes of leaving Miami with the championship lead.

That was the transition level. Verstappen went on to win the subsequent 9 races in a record-breaking run, whereas Perez arguably began to strive too laborious and launched into a run of 5 straight races with out making Q3. A lot for a title combat, then…

Few would have predicted Perez's drop in form after winning two of the opening four F1 rounds

Picture by: Crimson Bull Content material Pool

Few would have predicted Perez’s drop in type after successful two of the opening 4 F1 rounds

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