Red Bull's Sergio Perez had a rough weekend, despite the 2023 Formula 1 Mexico Grand Prix being his hometown race. Prior to the race, Perez had a less-than-ideal qualifying, finishing in fifth behind AlphaTauri's Daniel Ricciardo, who hadn't raced in weeks, following a broken hand suffered in the Dutch grand prix. Then, in the opening lap, Perez collided with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc—who started on pole—putting him out of the race just as it started.
By the race's halfway mark, around half of the crowd had already left, as they'd been there to watch Perez race. What was left of the crowd booed Leclerc, who finished third, after the race.
“A lot of booing. Guys, I had nowhere to go. I was between the two Red Bulls and unfortunately I touched Checo but I had nowhere to go, It’s life. It damaged my car and it ended the race of Checo," said Leclerc following the race, per The Guardian. “Of course I didn’t mean to end the race of Checo like that, but I didn’t do it on purpose.”
A disappointed Perez took most of the blame for the crash. “I had a tremendous start. I just went for it. I wasn’t expecting Charles to be there. There was no room for three cars. It was a total race incident. I went totally for it. I am really sad. I gave it my all. I have no doubts I will be back for Sao Paulo," he said.
Perez wasn't the only driver to crash out of the race, though. Haas' Kevin Magnussen crashed into the barrier and his car ended up catching fire. Thankfully, Magnussen was uninjured but he left the race halfway through. However, Magnussen's crash caused a red flag, temporarily pausing the race and forcing drivers to restart on worn, cold tires. A few laps later, McLaren's Oscar Piastri and AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda collided, causing the latter to drop to 16th place, ruining his race.
Toward the end of the race, it came down to Leclerc in third, chasing a second-place Lewis Hamilton who brought the heat. Hamilton had an impressive drive, starting from sixth on the grid and finishing second, after holding off a the third-place Leclerc while trying catch Red Bull's Max Verstappen, and manage engine temperature. Verstappen was miles ahead of Hamilton, though, with whopping 13second lead at one point.
As per usual, Verstappen won the Mexico Grand Prix, marking his 16th victory this season and adding to his already championship-clinching points total for the year. Verstappen has 491 points in the drivers' standings, while the second-place Perez has 240, just for some context as to how dominant Verstappen has been this year.
The next race will be in Brazil next week, November 5. Hopefully Perez can bounce back after a tough race in Mexico.
Got tips? Send 'em to firstname.lastname@example.org