(L to R): Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2023

Perez says he “didn’t see” Verstappen after forcing team mate off on first lap

2023 Austrian Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez insisted he didn’t realise Max Verstappen was alongside him when he squeezed his team mate onto the grass at the start of the Austrian Grand Prix sprint race.

The pair fought hard over the lead on the first lap of the race. Verstappen emerged ahead, but made it clear on his radio he was unhappy about being put on the grass by his team mate.

Perez made a better start from second on the grid than Verstappen alongside him did from pole position. Verstappen moved over towards the pit wall in an attempt to keep his team mate behind, but Perez had the inside line for turn one and claimed the lead.

However Verstappen made a better exit from the corner and tried to draw alongside Perez as they went up the hill. Perez immediately moved across to the right, forcing Verstappen onto the grass.

Verstappen said it was “a little bit of a hairy moment out of turn one” between the pair, and blamed his team mate for putting him off the track.

“Of course when you get forced onto the grass it’s very slippery. But we managed to keep the car under control and from there on we just did our race again.”

Perez acknowledged Verstappen “was angry” about the incident. “But I didn’t see him there I just had a very bad turn one, so I tried to protect [the lead].”

From there Perez led the field to turn three, where Verstappen dived down the inside of him from a long way back. He ran wide at the exit and forced Perez further wide onto the run-off.

The battle continued to the next corner where Perez attacked Verstappen on the outside. Again Verstappen took a wider line, and though he stopped short of pushing his team mate into the gravel trap, it was enough for Nico Hulkenberg to pounce and split the two Red Bulls.

Perez claimed he allowed his team mate to move back ahead of him after their moment at turn one. “Once I realised that he was there, I opened up the door and gave the place back into turn two.

“But it’s all fine, we just spoke about it because the visibility, although we were one and two, it was very bad the visibility out there.”

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2023 Austrian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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30 comments on “Perez says he “didn’t see” Verstappen after forcing team mate off on first lap”

  1. So Pérez is asking us to believe: (1) he had no inkling Verstappen might be trying to pass on the inside when he suddenly veered over in his direction, and (2) he let Verstappen take the place back and, what, induced Verstappen’s car into some kind of oversteer that drove himself off track? Sounds plausible, sure.

    1. *understeer

  2. Verstappen did do his best putting Perez in his place by running him wide and slowing him down at turn 3 and manoeuvring his car such that Perez was right in the grasp of Hulkenberg at turn 4.

    1. Agree. Looked petulent at best. Was really obvious to me. Glad someone else noticed too

      1. True. Pretty handy car control though. Finding the optimum exit for a corner (turn 4) under tricky conditions while digging a hole for your nearest rival/team mate to fall into.
        Looking at the replay he did seem to take a wider line into turn 3, but also had to correct the car twice or so.
        Knowing Verstappen a bit, it’s probably a bit of petulant naughtiness and a bit of sliding about.

        1. And it’s probably precisely because of that great car control (he has) that Verstappen is willing and able to do stuff like that @gabf1 and Ruben.

          1. Yes, I think you’re right @bosyber

  3. It looked strikingly similar to Perez’ incident with Ocon, Spa 2017, with grass on the outside instead of a wall.

    1. @palindnilap:
      At FI they were forbidden to race each other. If Perez goes back to his old ways with Ocon he’ll get more than a slap on the wrist at RBR

  4. Perez knew what he was doing in turn 2. Verstappen knew what he was doing into turn 3.

    1. Difference being that what Verstappen did was at least legal.

  5. That was a dangerous move by Perez, could have been 2016 Spanish gp incident all over again.

    1. Agreed, only far worse as this would have meant Max spinning on wet grass… 0 grip= massive crash.

  6. and though he stopped short of pushing his team mate into the gravel trap,

    To be read as: he left him sufficient space

    1. Max leaving sufficient space, now there’s a headline

  7. Perez is really testing the team’s patience. Verstappen could’ve easily lost control on that wet grass and crashed on the first lap of a Sprint race because Perez is trying to make up for his awful performance of yesterday.

    And given that when he finally cleared Hulk (on lap 9, with that car…..) he was 9 sec. off Max and finished 21 behind, it would be meaningless anyway, he just isn’t nowhere near fast enough to challenge Max for more than a couple of corners.

  8. Didn’t see the white line in Q.
    Didn’t see Max in the Sprint.
    Only sees the hole he has dug himself into this season.

    1. PER Didn’t see your face when he went from P15 to P3, did he?

      What’s for diner? Crow

  9. Perez led the field to turn three, where Verstappen dived down the inside of him from a long way back. He ran wide at the exit and forced Perez further wide onto the run-off.

    Sounds like the old Max is back, only it’s his teammate he’s forcing off the track.
    Obviously got confused when the red mist descended after losing turn one and thought it was a Mercedes he was forcing off.

    Glad to hear something actually happened in the Saturday sideshow.

    1. Max definitely wanted the palace back and wanted to show Perez he doesn’t take that kinda crap from anyone let alone his teammate. But he did the move on the inside on wet tarmac.. so it probably meant he went into the corner a little later and after than he would have liked. But he didn’t really run Perez off the track and definitely not as bad or dangerous as the move by Perez.

      1. Perez left the door wide open too. Very naive move. In particular because he did that 5 seconds after pushing Max to the grass.

        Of course max would try to get on the inside.

      2. Wow, the palace even!

  10. Veristappen about ran him off the road at the start and again at turn 3. They can both feel aggrieved or both just say they had a good fight for the lead.

    1. @dmw Verstappen didn’t run him out of road at the start. Had he done so, he’d have collided against the wall. Verstappen realised Pérez had made a better start and tried to push him onto damper track with less friction but left plenty of space. However, Pérez then forced Verstappen half onto the grass at high speed, in the rain, with the rest of the pack behind them. And very obviously either on purpose or with little care than Verstappen might have been there. Verstappen made it clear what he felt on the radio. Quite why anyone expects Verstappen not to seek some kind of payback leaves me nonplussed. Obviously Horner and the drivers will tell everyone it’s all fine. But I very much doubt it is. The Verstappen camp were furious over Monaco last year well into the end of the last season. Pérez this time was close to sending him out of the sprint race and into a serious accident.

      1. “Verstappen realised Pérez had made a better start and tried to push him onto damper track with less friction” oh no! he didn’t try, he DID push him. Had PER lost control on the damped part (outside the while limiting line) it could’ve crashed against VER, the wall or both and prob caused a massive chain reaction with all other cars behind. How is that OK?

  11. He left a cars width, Max didn’t.

    1. No he didn’t, Max had to go into the grass with two wheels.. that is about 50 cm short of a cars width.

      1. Indeed, just watched the replay in slow motion, and there was a full cars width plus like 5 cm or so. Max just wasnt able to judge the distance between the cars exactly, probably due to the spray.

        1. You probably were thinking about the cars from the past. The current cars are a lot wider.

  12. What a pic
    Max: Yea! and then you kept driving me off the track!
    Checo: I wonder whats on the menu this afternoon…..

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