Perez’s series of failures in Formula 1 continues: Disaster in Canada qualifying

Sergio Perez and the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Canada are unlikely to be friends anymore. Since 2018, the Mexican has not made it into Q3 at the GP on the artificial island in Montreal, even though he has actually always been in a top car with the Red Bull since the comeback of the Formula 1 race in 2021.

2024 was no exception. Quite the opposite: Unlike the last two years, Perez did not even make it to Q2, but failed in the first segment on qualifying Saturday. What is striking about this is that his teammate Max Verstappen drove the superior best time in this section, with Perez coming in almost a second behind.

Sergio Perez despairs over balance: The rear is causing problems

After his early exit from qualifying, the fifth-placed driver in the World Championship was at a loss for an explanation. “We just couldn’t get everything to work. Especially on the rear axle,” he said, offering a first explanation for his early failure. “I think it was a very strange session with a lot of cars on the track and we had a lot of problems with the rear. We need to understand the reasons for that first,” he continued.

Qualifying in Canada was indeed one of the more unusual ones. Because of the persistent risk of rain, it was unclear at almost all times how the track would develop and when you would have to be on the track to set fast times. Accordingly, practically all drivers drove several push laps on one set of tires.

But that wasn’t the deciding factor for Perez. His problems with the rear axle took away his confidence in the car. This is nothing new in recent weeks. Because of similar balance problems, he missed out on a good starting position on the last two race weekends.

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez in the gravel bed
In Imola and Monaco, Perez already messed up his weekend in qualifying, Photo: LAT Images

In He failed spectacularly in Q1 in Monaco, blaming balance problems on the rear axle as well as a number of other factors. A similar story happened in Imola: There, too, he was surprised by the behavior of his rear and made a costly mistake in Q2 that knocked him out of qualifying. The explanation back then, however, was completely different. “I had too much grip,” said Perez at the Italian race.

Perez points in the race: At least you can overtake in Canada

“The fact that the track was so green reset things. That’s why I had problems getting the temperature in the tires,” Perez said, providing another explanation for his failure in Canada.

In contrast to the Grands Prix in Monaco and Imola, however, Perez has a consoling factor on his side at the Canadian GP. Overtaking is considered relatively easy on the 4.361-kilometer street circuit. In Monaco, it is known to be almost impossible, but in Imola overtaking maneuvers are more difficult.

“Hopefully we can get through the traffic well tomorrow and I can secure a few points and a good result,” said Perez, looking ahead to race Sunday. Race pace is usually the RB20’s speciality, even if there is hardly any concrete data from the rainy training sessions in Canada to confirm this fact for this weekend. This general vehicle strength naturally fuels the hope of a successful comeback and damage limitation.

New Formula 1 contract with Red Bull

Perez signed a new contract with Red Bull just last week. The 34-year-old is now contractually bound to the Bulls until 2026. The extension came mainly as a result of his good start to the season and as a consequence of Red Bull trying to bring calm to the team in light of the internal disputes of the past few months.

Nevertheless, Perez should probably not be too sure of his position. Because a sustained series of poor results can quickly activate any performance clauses. Especially if – as is the case at the moment – the 2024 Formula 1 Constructors’ Championship seems to be anything but a sure thing.

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