News

Perez explains why he has been ‘a step or two behind’ while adapting driving style to ‘developed’ RB19

Share
perez-zandvoort-portrait-2023.png

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez has opened up on his efforts to rediscover the eye-catching form he displayed in the early stages of the 2023 season, admitting that developments to the RB19 sometimes “didn’t really suit me” and left him needing to “work harder”.

Perez started the year with two pole positions and two wins in five events to shadow team mate Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings, only for qualifying struggles and a general lack of confidence to take hold and derail his championship challenge.

READ MORE: Wolff ‘cannot comprehend’ 2023 qualifying gap between Red Bull team mates Verstappen and Perez

In a Sky Sports F1 interview conducted by F1 strategist Bernie Collins, whom he previously worked with at McLaren and Force India, Perez shared some more details about his adaptation to Red Bull over the last two-and-a-half seasons, and how it is still a work in progress.

“There are a lot of things that are so different,” Perez explained. “How you look after tyres, for example, is one of the biggest things. How you drive is completely different. You are able to do things that with a Force India you cannot do or you cannot even think of doing.”

perez-crash-monaco.png

Perez’s qualifying crash in Monaco marked the start of a five-event run without a Q3 appearance

Pushed on whether he’s continuing to learn and improve, the six-time Grand Prix winner added: “Yeah, the progression is there. For a driver it’s really difficult to be adapting to the car instead of just things coming naturally.

“The last few races I’ve been like a step or two behind and always thinking consciously how I have to drive the car. Sometimes with how the car has been developed, it doesn’t really suit me as much, so I have to work harder for it.

READ MORE: Marko names only 2 drivers who would be ‘nearer’ to Verstappen than Perez – but says ‘nobody can beat Max at the moment’

“But I think [Hungary and Belgium], for example, have been good, standing on the podium. Hopefully we can keep that momentum going, because at the end of the day we’ve got a great race car.”

Perez also offered some more insight into the aforementioned challenging run – starting with a heavy Q1 crash in Monaco – that saw him lose significant ground to Verstappen in just a handful of races.

verstappen-perez-2023.png

Verstappen now holds a significant lead over Perez in the drivers’ standings

Asked about the pressure at the start of the season, and how it compared to previous experiences, he said: “It was different this time obviously because, you know, we started the year so high, so you’re thinking you are a championship contender, you’ve won two races.

“Then, all of a sudden, you feel like, ‘Ah, this weekend doesn’t feel like it did before’, so you’re losing confidence because you’re not fully confident with the car. In F1, if you’re not fully confident with a car at 250kph into a corner, then you are doubting a little bit more, and it’s what really happened in those moments.

F1 NATION: Verstappen makes history as Alonso returns to the podium – it's our Dutch GP review

“It would be easy here to sit back and say, ‘It’s too hard for me’, and so on, but at the end of the day you just have to get on with it. Like I said, I just look forward to keep this momentum going with the team.”

Despite his tricky spell, Perez remains second in the drivers’ championship after 13 races, albeit 138 points behind Verstappen, while Red Bull sit 285 points clear of Mercedes in the constructors’.

Share

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Coming Up

Coming Up

News

Contact with Ocon on Lap 1 at Suzuka was ‘game over’ for Alpine, says Gasly