Formula 1 Racing

Perez’s car scratched Verstappen’s diffuser in first-lap lunge · F1 · RaceFans

Start, Miami International Autodrome, 2024

Sergio Perez admitted he came close to taking out his team mate Max Verstappen with his dive down the inside of turn one at the start of the Miami Grand Prix.

He said he hadn’t realised how little grip there was at that point on the track, where Lewis Hamilton ran into Fernando Alonso the day before.

“As soon as I dived in the inside of Charles [Leclerc], I could see that as soon as I hit the brakes, there was no grip at all,” said Perez after the race. “Like we saw yesterday with Lewis, off line here, especially in the turn one, there is zero grip down there.”

Perez’s RB20 passed perilously close to that of Verstappen. The pair avoided making contact, but Perez ran wide at the first corner, forcing Carlos Sainz Jnr to take avoiding action.

“In hindsight, if I knew there was no grip on the inside, I wouldn’t have gone there in the first place,” Perez told Sky. “I went there because I thought it was going to be safe.

“But as soon as I hit the brakes, I could see that the car wouldn’t stop. I ended up front locking and I went straight.

“That meant basically that I nearly took Max out, so I had to release the brake to release the front locking.”

Verstappen said he was “very aware” of how close his team mate came to hitting him. “I turned in and I saw him lock up.

“I looked after the race, there was like a scratch on my diffuser, so something must have hit.

“But it was very close. Could have ended in a disaster, of course, for the team as well. [We were] lucky.”

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