Motor racing-Perez apologises after Canadian weekend to forget

Formula One F1 - Canadian Grand Prix - Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, Canada - June 9, 2024 Red Bull's Sergio Perez in action during the race REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger

MONTREAL (Reuters) - Red Bull's Sergio Perez has apologised after a second successive retirement in Canada on Sunday left the Mexican 87 points behind triple Formula One champion, team mate and race winner Max Verstappen.

Perez remained fifth overall in the world championship and a point behind Ferrari's Carlos Sainz, who also failed to finish as did his team mate and Verstappen's closest rival Charles Leclerc in a big blow for the Italian outfit.

"I'm very sorry for my team, I let them down today. But we will come back no doubt. There’s a very long way to go," Perez, who has scored only four points from the last three races, said on social media.

The Mexican had started 16th in the Canadian Grand Prix and damaged his car's front wing on the opening lap when he made contact with Alpine's Pierre Gasly.

He then crashed into the barriers late in the race after losing control on a damp kerb at turn six, limping back to the pits with a broken rear wing.

That cost him a three-place grid penalty for the next race in Spain, with stewards punishing him for a breach of the safety rules that require a driver to stop if the car is unsafe.

"The incident was on me, I touched the wet part into turn six and I couldn’t stop the car, I couldn’t touch the brakes," Perez said on Sunday.

"It has been a very tough couple of weekends, we will regroup, keep our heads down and learn from the weekend. We identified a couple of issues after qualifying and they meant we would have qualified a lot higher.

"Hopefully we can be back to our form in Spain and get back to the level we were at earlier in the season. I am confident in that, there are good tracks coming for us."

Team boss Christian Horner told Sky Sports television that Perez, whose contract was recently extended, had a "horrible weekend" and would need to raise his game.

"He'll need to come back strong in Barcelona. Thankfully Ferrari had a shocker today so didn't get any points, that let us off the hook somewhat," he added.

"But we need both cars scoring. We got away with it today but we need Checo (Perez) back up there where he was at the beginning of the year from Barcelona onwards."

Barcelona hosts the Spanish Grand Prix on June 23.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Clare Fallon)

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