Former F1 driver Martin Brundle has insisted Sergio Perez's first corner crash at the Mexico City Grand Prix was the "last thing" needed by himself, Red Bull and the race promoter.
Hype around Perez's place on the grid was a large benefactor for the return to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez last decade, with the festival-like atmosphere only boosted by his move to Red Bull in 2021.
But the Mexican has struggled for form since winning two of the opening four races this term and arrived at the circuit last week knowing a strong performance was needed to ward off continuous speculation over his future with the Milton Keynes-based outfit.
After an improved qualifying performance that brought him closer to teammate Max Verstappen, a stellar start from fifth saw Perez attacking the Dutchman and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc for the lead at the first corner, only for contact to send him into a gut-wrenching retirement.
"Perez did everything right until the turning into Turn 1," said Brundle in his Sky Sports F1 column.
"From fifth on the grid he made a great start, picked up the slipstream of the three now ahead of him, spotted the gap perfectly on the left-hand side which was also the cleaner, wider racing line into the first corner.
"He was in a way a victim of his own great start and good decisions because he was now level with Leclerc and Verstappen for the lead.
"He explained afterwards that having been on the podium here twice he wanted to lead the race and take a glorious victory, which is where it sadly went wrong."
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'Two errors' prove costly
"In the split second at 200mph he made two errors," added Brundle.
"He assumed the squeezed Ferrari of Leclerc in the middle would brake earlier, and presumably the same for Verstappen on the dusty inside line which would make the corner much tighter for him. Neither rival braked early and they remained fully in control of their cars.
"Sergio's biggest mistake was that he turned into the corner too hard and too early, he needed to run a wider line around the outside and seize the high ground into the second part of the chicane.
"Leclerc had little room to manoeuvre with Verstappen on his inside, but Perez's overlap was quite significant and the contact between wide and sticky F1 tyres sent him skywards and soon into retirement. It was the last thing he, his team, or the fans and race promoter needed."