Sergio Perez was criticized by F1 pundit Naomi Schiff for his actions on the first lap against Max Verstappen. At the start of the 2023 F1 Austrian GP sprint, the Mexican got the better and jumped his teammate into turn 1.
However, out of turn, Perez did not have the best exit, and as a result, he hadn't fended off Verstappen completely.
On the run into turn 2, Sergio Perez ended up pushing Max Verstappen onto the grass in what was a very marginal call. After the sprint, the two drivers had a chat to resolve whatever disagreement they had and resolved the situation.
Afterwards, talking to the media, the Mexican claimed that he had not seen his teammate at that particular moment when he pushed him wide.
The Sky F1 pundit Naomi Schiff is not buying it. Talking about the incident on Sky Sports, Schiff termed the incident unnecessary and said:
“To be honest, like I understand blocking, I understand trying to protect your position, but teammate against teammate, when there’s all to lose for them two, I think it was very unnecessary. And I think he was saying that he didn’t see him? I don’t really buy that. Because you can see he moves over, and then as Max is there, he seems to move over a little bit more."
“He wouldn’t be on that part of the track to begin with if he didn’t know Max was there, so I don’t buy the fact that he didn’t see him.”
What did Sergio Perez claim?
Sergio Perez claimed in the interview just after the sprint that he had not seen Max Verstappen at that particular moment. As soon as he did, he opened the door to let Verstappen overtake into Turn 2.
“I think Max was angry that I went into Turn 2 [sic], but I didn’t see him there. I had a really bad Turn 1, so I tried to protect. Once I realised he was there, I opened up the door and gave the place back into Turn 2.”
Sergio Perez had a decent return to form as he secured a P2 finish in a race for the first time since Miami. The driver has not been on the podium for four races, and even in the Grand Prix on Sunday, he will line up outside of the top 10. The result should be a decent confidence boost after a string of bad results.