Sergio Perez came over the radio to exclaim “I’m gonna crash” during FP2 ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix. The Mexican driver was struggling to feel comfortable in his RB19 throughout Friday’s practice sessions.
The Mexican driver endured a difficult start to the weekend, following up an underwhelming P7 finish in FP1 earlier in the afternoon with an identical finish in FP2, behind both Ferrari drivers and the Mercedes duo.
Checo claimed a stunning victory on these streets earlier last season, defending valiantly from Charles Leclerc with his team-mate way down the order. Unfortunately for the 33-year-old, he needs plenty of improvement on Saturday if he’s to set up a repeat in 2023.
With two-thirds of FP2 already behind him, Checo came onto the radio to say: “It’s just not coming, mate. Every braking zone I feel like I’m gonna crash. The rear is just stepping out massively.”
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This was far from the first time one of the Red Bull drivers complained over the radio during Friday’s running. Verstappen was quick to point out his issues during FP1, stating: “Quite aggressive downshifts and I struggle in the [corners] mid to exit all the time. A lot of oversteer in every corner, basically.”
Even more concerning for Checo and his in-form team-mate will be the pace demonstrated by Ferrari throughout the opening two sessions of the weekend. The Scuderia closed out a one-two finish in both FP1 and FP2 with neither driver reporting any issues.
The pace of the Scuderia was predicted by Helmut Marko heading into the weekend. He told Autosport: “But I have to say Ferrari and especially Leclerc is a specialist around there.
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“If they are faster in qualifying, then it could become a problem for us because overtaking in Singapore is very difficult. But I’m still optimistic that the package we are bringing to Singapore is good enough to win.”
This pace will add more pressure onto Checo’s shoulders this weekend. The Guadalajara-born racer is celebrating his 250th Grand Prix start on Sunday, but unacceptable comments made by Marko have put him in the spotlight for the wrong reasons.
A second-place finish at the Italian Grand Prix two weeks ago hinted at something of a return to form for Perez, but with Verstappen on a ten-race winning streak with a 145-point lead in the Drivers’ Championship, the Mexican will want no further distractions in Singapore this weekend.
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