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Perez frustrated by 'disastrous weekend' in Japan but hails Red Bull's 'tremendous year'

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SUZUKA, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 24: Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing looks on after

Sergio Perez had what he deemed a “disastrous weekend” in Japan, after retiring twice from Sunday's race, but he was more than happy to see his Red Bull team seal another constructors’ title.

Perez qualified fifth for the race but a slow start saw him come under pressure at the start from Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton. But, as they went three-wide on the run down to Turn 1, Perez made contact with Hamilton and damaged his front-wing end plate.

TREMAYNE: Superb engineering, great driving and cohesive teamwork – How Red Bull charged to another F1 constructors’ title

He then had to stop for a new front wing, dropping him to the back of the field before he was handed a five-second time penalty for a Safety Car infringement – with replays showing him overtaking Fernando Alonso under the Safety Car as he came into the pits.

But Perez’s day only worsened as, making his way through the field, he looked to dive down the inside of Kevin Magnussen at the hairpin for 11th, sending the Haas driver spinning while the Mexican had more front wing damage.

While Red Bull were able to fit another front wing on to his RB19, they retired his car after Perez said “the car doesn’t feel right” over the radio, just as he was handed another five-second penalty for causing a collision.

2023 Japanese Grand Prix: Perez tips Magnussen into a spin after lunge at Turn 11

His day looked to be done until the cameras panned to him getting back into his repaired car, as Red Bull sent him back out 28 laps later to serve the penalty before his race ended for good on Lap 42.

Reflecting on his eventful Japanese Grand Prix, Perez said: “It was just a disastrous weekend. It all started into Turn 1, with a really bad start.

READ MORE: ‘I’m very proud of everyone’ – Verstappen overjoyed as Suzuka win seals constructors’ crown for Red Bull

"I was squeezed and was just a passenger there, in a sandwich. I think we carried a lot of damage in the car as well and that just made it a lot harder for us.”

With Max Verstappen’s victory, Red Bull sealed a second consecutive constructors’ title – and a sixth in their history – and while Perez was frustrated to not be able to seal it with a one-two finish, he was more than happy to have played his part in their success.

SUZUKA, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 24: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull

Perez hailed the achievements of his Red Bull team after they sealed a sixth constructors' title in Japan

“Yeah, it’s been an incredible year,” said Perez. “I’m really happy to contribute to the constructors. It’s a very special day for the whole team, to finally clinch that constructors’ title.

“It’s been a tremendous year so far; the team has done an amazing job. It would have been really nice to clinch the championship with a one-two finish, but anyway it is what it is.”

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