MONACO : Sergio Perez started the Monaco Grand Prix weekend hoping to repeat last year's win and it turned into a nightmare he cannot afford to repeat.
The Red Bull driver lined up last on the grid after crashing in qualifying and finished 16th after a series of collisions, five pitstops and twice being lapped by his winning team mate Max Verstappen.
The Formula One title 'battle' is looking increasingly like a pushover, with Verstappen now 39 points clear of the Mexican after winning four of six races.
"I think we’ve paid the price for my mistake (in qualifying)," Perez told reporters. "That's been very costly.
"I just have to apologise to my whole team. It is unacceptable to have this kind of mistake. I just have to move on, learn from it, and I cannot afford another zero in the championship."
Perez pitted after the first lap, planning on going to the end of the race on hard tyres but that was soon blown out of the water.
While he gained two places in the pitstop, he hit traffic and then tangled with Aston Martin's Lance Stroll when he tried to pass as Verstappen lapped them both.
He had to pit for a new front wing after a collision with Haas's Kevin Magnussen and was dealt another setback when it rained.
There were further incidents, one with Mercedes' George Russell that again damaged his front wing, and a brush with the wall that damaged his car.
"We took a really aggressive strategy, we stopped on lap one and you could see his pace in free air," said team boss Christian Horner.
"He actually got back within a pit window of (Alpine's third-placed) Esteban Ocon but then (Williams' Logan) Sargeant and the slow cars starting to struggle and of course you can't overtake.
"And then he got involved in a kerfuffle with Russell and damaged the front wing. It was just one of those weekends where nothing went his way.
"I would think for him the sooner he gets to Barcelona the better.
"In some ways it takes pressure off because he's got nothing to lose now."
The Spanish Grand Prix follows next Sunday.