Jenson Button criticises Sergio Perez qualy approach after early retirement

·2-min read
Sergio Perez in the gravel. Melbourne, Australia. March 2023. Credit: Alamy
Sergio Perez in the gravel. Melbourne, Australia. March 2023. Credit: Alamy

Jenson Button has criticised the approach of Sergio Perez after the Mexican caused a red flag just minutes into qualifying in Melbourne.

Perez’s horror Saturday continued into Q1 when the Red Bull man again lost it going into Turn 3, a problem he had frequently experienced during FP3.

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Any hope that his woes in the morning session would be at an end were quickly extinguished when he found himself beached in the gravel and unable to continue.

It means that, unless there are any grid penalties, Perez will start Sunday’s race from last, his lowest qualifying spot since the 2021 Dutch Grand Prix.

2009 World Champion Button, who twice started on pole in Melbourne, criticised the approach of Perez, suggesting he should have built up his lap more.

“That’s game over for him but that surprises me,” he said during a commentary stint on Sky Sports F1. “He had a tough FP3, but you build up to it.

“He’s got the quickest car out there – don’t go and put it on the line in the second braking point. Maybe he’s got bigger issues with that car than what we think.”

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As soon as he found himself trapped in the gravel, Perez was on the team radio telling his team it was the “same **** issue” as he had in FP3.

Even with the issue, a Red Bull car out in Q1 is not good enough and Button suggested blame should go to the driver.

“You do carry it [a bad performance] over,” the 43-year-old said. “FP3 was one of the worst sessions he’s ever had. He was very vocal on the radio about that.

“But I’m just surprised he hasn’t built up to [it]. Just get an easy lap in first and then you build from there.

“But it seems that it’s combined that he struggles with. So he’s hit the brakes and it’s okay, but it’s when he turns into the corner.

“The inside wheel goes light and that’s where the lock up is coming from, so disappointing for him and the whole Red Bull team.”

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