More woe for Sergio Perez as Red Bull driver crashes out of practice in Hungary

By Sports Desk July 21, 2023

Sergio Perez’s torrid run of form continued at the Hungarian Grand Prix after he crashed out of a rain-hit opening practice.

George Russell led the way in the wet conditions for Mercedes at the Hungaroring, 0.359 seconds clear of McLaren’s Oscar Piastri, with Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll third and Lando Norris fourth.

Only 13 of the 20-strong field posted a competitive lap, with championship leader Max Verstappen and seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton not risking the possibility of damage.

The first one-hour running of the weekend was still dry, and barely a few minutes old, when Perez lost control of his Red Bull and ended up in the wall.

The Mexican put two wheels on the grass under braking for the fifth corner, sending him into a pirouette and into the tyre barrier.

Perez was unharmed in the accident but he sustained significant damage to the front of his machine.

Perez is under increasing pressure at Red Bull following five consecutive qualifying sessions in which he has failed to make it into Q3. On each of those occasions, Verstappen has scored pole position in the other Red Bull.

Indeed, Verstappen, who has won eight of the opening 10 rounds and six in succession, has already moved 99 points clear of his struggling team-mate.

Daniel Ricciardo’s comeback at Red Bull’s junior team AlphaTauri is also likely to be playing on Perez’s mind, with the Australian admitting he is daring to dream about the possibility of a return to the grid’s all-conquering team.

For now, Ricciardo has a dozen races to prove his credentials. However, the eight-time grand prix winner was among those who elected not to set a timed lap on Friday.

The red flags were deployed to deal with Perez’s stricken car and then the rain arrived. The slippery conditions caught out Carlos Sainz after he lost control of his Ferrari on the exit of turn three.

The Spaniard spun across the track and grazed the wall on the opposite side of the circuit before becoming stuck in the grass.

A second red flag was required as marshals assisted in helping Sainz return to the pits with front-wing damage on his scarlet machine.

Friday’s concluding session takes place at 5pm local time (4pm BST).

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