Sergio Perez admits he “cannot afford another zero” in his Formula 1 title bid after finishing out of the points in Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix.
Perez started at the back of the grid after crashing out in Saturday’s qualifying session, but was unable to make his way through to the points-paying positions as he endured a difficult race.
He damaged his front wing after contact with Kevin Magnussen, forcing him to make one of five pitstops, and was lapped twice by Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen.
Verstappen’s lights-to-flag victory from pole position means he now leads Perez by 39 points in the drivers’ championship, and the Mexican conceded his Monaco weekend was “very costly”.
“We paid the price for my mistake and that’s been very costly. I just have to apologise to my whole team because it is unacceptable to have this kind of mistake,” Perez said, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“I have to move on, learn from it, and I cannot afford another zero in the championship.”
Reflecting on his coming together with Magnussen, Perez said he had “no idea what was going on” as his race began to implode.
“It was going really well. Unfortunately, I hit the traffic fairly early and that put us back to our original position. Then the rain came, we were one of the last ones to pit,” he added.
“Then I clipped the wall and it was just all a mess. I broke my front wing with Magnussen who just broke [deep] out of the chicane and it just went bad.
“When you are in those positions, you always have to risk a lot.”
Red Bull boss Christian Horner revealed Perez had been in Esteban Ocon’s pit window before he got stuck in traffic, in a weekend where “nothing went his way”.
“We took a really aggressive strategy. Was stopped on lap one and you could see his pace in free air and how much the others were saving,” said Horner.
“He actually got back within a pit window of Esteban Ocon, and then [Logan] Sargeant and the slow cars were starting to struggle and, of course, you can’t overtake.
“Then he got involved in a kerfuffle with [George] Russell and damaged the front wing. It was just one of those weekends where nothing went his way.
“He had a massive save in the swimming pool, so he probably needed a new pair of underwear after that.
“It’s just been one of those weekends for him where [he should] turn the page and I would think, for him, the sooner he can get to Barcelona, the better.”