Martin Brundle believes Sergio Perez should bow once and for all to “the genius” of Max Verstappen and focus on making the most of the days when he delivers his “own special magic”.
Perez’s Monaco Grand Prix weekend was a fruitless endeavor, with a costly crash in the first segment of qualifying leaving the Red Bull driver with a near impossible task on his hands on race day.
“It is still easy enough to crash of course and the driver who suffered most was last year's winner and street circuit specialist Sergio Perez,” wrote Brundle in his post-race column for Sky Sports.
“Early into the first part of qualifying he simply arrived too quickly into Saint Devote Turn One and smashed into the outside barrier.
“He'd likely been a little distracted by an Alpine getting out of his way by diving into the long pit-lane exit, but whatever the reason it put a huge dent in his Red Bull car and his championship battle with team-mate Max Verstappen.”
Perez never recovered from his qualifying blunder, enduring a chaotic afternoon on Sunday that left him stuck in the lower tier of F1’s midfield, with no opportunity to move forward.
The Red Bull charger’s shot in the dark also significantly dented Perez’s championship ambitions as Verstappen now leads his teammate in the standings by 39 points.
Referring to his own experience of competing against F1’s heavyweights back in the day, Brundle believes that Perez should optimize the aspects of his racing that are within his control and ensure a second-place finish when Verstappen is out of reach.
"[Verstappen] now leads team-mate Perez by 39 points which is approaching the equivalent of a win and a third place in hand," added the former F1 driver.
"What I learned when I was in direct competition with Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen and I simply couldn't match their raw speed and gifted talents was to maximise everything that was in my control such as car race set-up, starts, in laps, out laps, traffic management and so on.
"Sergio would be better off making sure he finishes second and accepting the genius of Verstappen, and then maximise the days when he delivers his own special magic such as Singapore last year and Baku this season."