Perez says he has ‘good opportunity’ to win 2022 title after signing Red Bull contract extension
Fresh off the announcement that he has put pen to paper on a new two-year contract extension at Red Bull, Sergio Perez is pleased that he can turn his complete attention to the drivers' world championship. And while he believes he has a good chance to win a maiden title this year, Perez maintains the season is “still very young.”
Perez – whose new deal will take him through to the end of 2024 season – expressed his delight at no longer having the "stress" of worrying about his future. He also revealed there were no discussions with Red Bull regarding a pecking order between him and team mate Max Verstappen – and answered in the affirmative when asked if he felt he had the opportunity to fight for the title this season.
“It was signed on Friday before Monaco and we didn't discuss about that [receiving equal treatment to Verstappen],” said Perez. “There is nothing in my contract that says I need to finish second, or something like that, it was not a topic in the contract at all.
“As a driver you want certainty, you want to get that stress out of the way, so the earlier the better. It takes so much energy and so much focus to be a hundred percent weekend by weekend, so you don't need that thinking.
“So, it was good that we agreed so early on that contract. And yeah, I feel like I've got a good opportunity [to compete for the title], but obviously the season is still very young so anything can happen from now.”
Perez is one of four drivers to have won the Azerbaijan Grand Prix – along with Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo – after taking victory last year. And the Mexican provided a little insight into what it takes to be successful at the Baku City Circuit.
“I think Baku is all about confidence,” Perez explained. “It's all about not making mistakes because here what really can catch you out is making those mistakes, losing track time, starting on the back foot, and you can compromise your weekend fairly easily here, so it's very important to stay out of trouble.”
Perez lies third in the driver standings heading to Azerbaijan, 15 points behind leader Verstappen and just six shy of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc. Another Baku win on Sunday could – in theory – see him move ahead of both his rivals.