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Perez targets season ‘restart’ in Canada as he looks to ‘get rid’ of bad weekends and challenge Verstappen

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Sergio Perez hopes the Canadian Grand Prix will act as a reset for his 2023 season, and his hopes of challenging for the world title, after two challenging weekends in Spain and Monaco.

Perez and Red Bull team mate Max Verstappen were closely matched early in the season, with the Mexican winning two races to the Dutchman’s three and sitting just 14 points back in the standings after five races.

READ MORE: Hamilton says Mercedes ‘buzzing with new energy’ since double podium in Spain as he offers contract update

However, a qualifying crash in Monte Carlo saw Perez drop out in Q1 and fail to score any points on race day, while the following round in Barcelona turned into a damage limitation drive to P4 after exiting at the Q2 stage via a trip through the gravel.

Now sitting 53 points off team mate Verstappen in the battle for the drivers’ crown, Perez is well aware that he needs to get his season back on track as the paddock sets up in Montreal.

“I basically want a restart, to go again,” said Perez. “Monaco was all down to me, I had a really bad mistake. Then in Barcelona in the qualifying again, it was tricky with the damp conditions, we didn’t manage to have a good quali, and we paid the price on Sunday.

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Perez dropped out of Q1 in Monaco after crashing and then fell at the Q2 hurdle in Spain

“I’m looking forward to getting back on the form we had in the early season. It was difficult in Barcelona, it’s the only time that I had difficulties with the car. I struggled through the weekend, so it was tricky in Barcelona.

“Other than that, I think in Monaco we had the pace to really have a very good weekend, but I did a mistake, I was caught out by the tailwind, the car ahead and so on. I think the first time we had difficulties was in Barcelona.”

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Asked what he has learned from Verstappen during their time as team mates that can be used to emerge from his troubles, Perez added: “I think he’s been able to deliver when it mattered in qualifying. He hasn’t had a bad weekend at all this year, and I think that’s what I need.

“I can’t afford to have any bad weekends anymore. I think I’ve had two or three bad weekends in the season, so I really have to get rid of those and keep the consistency high, because I think Max has been really good and consistent throughout this period.”

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Verstappen now leads Perez by 53 points in the drivers’ championship

As for Verstappen, he cut a relaxed and confident figure on his return to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, having doubled up at the venue 12 months ago with pole position and the race win.

Asked how his current form feels, he said: “I think it’s very good. The car is great to drive [and], the good thing about it is, it is very predictable, it is quite straight forward to set-up.

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“There’s always things that you can do better, but it seems we can get it into a decent window quite quickly, and that helps a lot to work throughout a race weekend.

“Of course, this weekend it looks like there is a lot of rain around, and that makes it a bit more difficult to find a sweet spot of a car, as in the wet a lot of things could happen, but it’s been a great start to the season.”

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