Sergio Perez stated he has never felt more upset about the outcome of a Formula One race than he did in the moments after crashing out of his home Mexican Grand Prix on Sunday.
The Red Bull driver started fifth on the grid but by the entry to Turn 1 was alongside Charles Leclerc, who started from pole position, as he attempted to pass the Ferrari around the outside.
Leclerc, who had Perez’s teammate Max Verstappen on his inside, was left with nowhere to go and collided with the Mexican as the Red Bull cut across him.
The incident, which sent his car high up into the air, caused too much damage for the Red Bull to continue and resulted in Perez’s retirement from the race.
“I’ve had some really sad moments in my career, but certainly this is as a race is the saddest one, because of the end result,” Perez said. “But at the end of the day, this is just racing.
“I go very sad home, but I also go very proud of my time or myself. We gave it all. I knew that today, a podium was not enough for me, and I really wanted to go for the win. I saw the gap and I went for it.”
Despite damage to his front wing, Leclerc went on to finish the race in third position while Verstappen took his 16th victory of the season.
Asked if he felt as though he had let down his home crowd at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Perez said he owed it to them to fight for the victory and attempt to take the lead into the first corner.
“I felt to be honest I would have let them down more if I didn’t go for it, if I’m honest,” he added. “I saw the gap and I went for it. I decided to take a risk, I knew it was going to be very risky, and I ended up paying the price.
“Yeah. Risk, reward, it was pretty high risk to take, but it was worth taking it.”
When he was asked if he would take the same risk again, Perez added: “Yes, I would.”
The result was made all the more devastating for Perez on the back of his recent form and speculation regarding his future at Red Bull.
He has not stood on a podium since the Italian Grand Prix in early September and has scored just 21 points compared to his teammate’s 127 in the last five races.
Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo has returned to Red Bull junior team AlphaTauri after breaking a bone in his hand at the Dutch Grand Prix in August and outqualified Perez in Mexico before going on to finish seventh.
Despite the mounting pressure, Perez stated he would be able to brush off the result in time for Brazilian Grand Prix next weekend.
“It’s a weekend where I risked it all to go for the win. The pace was there. But it just didn’t happen. This is just how racing is.
“I’ve been here long enough to understand that. You have days like this. What makes me feel proud is that I gave it all. And that’s it.”