BUDAPEST, Hungary -- Three minutes into Daniel Ricciardo's first track session with AlphaTauri, Red Bull's Sergio Perez crashed out of practice ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix.
On his first full lap on track, Perez put a wheel on the grass at the top of the hill at Turn 5 and spun out, crashing heavily into the tyre barrier.
Given the events of the past 10 days it was a remarkable twist in the narrative surrounding both him and Ricciardo going forward.
On Thursday Perez, under contract through 2024, insisted his future is still in his hands and that Ricciardo's return to Red Bull's second team has not put him under any more pressure than he is already under to deliver results.
He sounded shocked at his early mistake and said over the radio: "Nope, cannot believe this... F---!"
Ricciardo, who sat out the first six months of the year as Red Bull's third driver, was drafted in to replace Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri after a successful test with the senior team at Silverstone.
Perez has been in a rotten spell of form, having failed to make the final qualifying session at the last five races.
That has left him fighting to make up positions on Sundays during the grand prix.
His struggles have been a stark contrast to teammate Max Verstappen's dominant run of six straight victories.
Verstappen already leads Perez by 99 points in the championship.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner said after the British Grand Prix that Perez needed a clean weekend in Budapest to get back on track, something the Mexican driver said he was confident of doing.
Horner said the early hope is the crash won't have a lasting impact on Perez's weekend.
"It was obviously the start of his first lap," he said. "He came through Turn 4 OK, he just misjudged it, made a mistake, put a wheel on the grass on the approach to Turn 5 and it just swapped ends on him.
"You can obviously hear the frustration in his voice and he stuck his hands up. So it is what it is. We'll get it turned around and out as quickly as we can for the next session."