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‘We stopped inventing’ jokes Perez as he explains 2024 improvements with Sainz reference

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Sergio Perez has opened up on the improvements he and Red Bull have made over the winter after a competitive start to the 2024 season that has left him feeling “a lot happier” and prompted his confidence to “slowly come back”.

Perez endured a rollercoaster 2023 – dented by a poor run of qualifying performances mid-season – as he struggled to extract the same level of performance from the RB19 that team mate and world champion Max Verstappen managed to achieve.

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It led to plenty of soul-searching and detailed analysis for driver and team, with the result being a simplified approach that has seen Perez take a trio of P2 finishes from the opening four races of the new campaign.

Perez’s apparent progress was also highlighted by a much smaller margin to Verstappen over the recent Japanese Grand Prix weekend, where he pushed the Dutchman for pole position after lapping almost eight-tenths slower than him in qualifying at Suzuka the previous season.

‘We have to keep progressing’ – Perez wants to push on after third P2 of the year at Suzuka

As things stand, Perez sits second in the drivers’ championship, just 13 points behind Verstappen, as he looks to build on his encouraging recent performances and take the next step as the season develops.

“Like Carlos [Sainz] would say, we stopped inventing,” Perez joked of his improved form, making reference to the Ferrari driver’s viral radio message at the 2022 British Grand Prix, where Ferrari attempted to manage a late Safety Car restart.

READ MORE: Perez expects decision on Red Bull future to be made ‘within next month’

“We were playing around with the car far too much and just going through it and I think now we have a much better base. We are a lot happier, and the weekends just progress.

“I think when we came here last year, we were at the stage of our season where [nothing] was working. When you are in that, you just go around circles and circles. Then we found out in the end, towards the end of the year, that it was better.

“Just step back and don’t try to chase it too much with the set-up, because then you start compromising other things, and I think that’s been the case for this year. I’m a lot more comfortable, a lot happier and the confidence is slowly coming back.”

SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 07: Second placed Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing

Perez has three P2 finishes to his name from the four races held so far this season

Perez also feels confident that there is more to come from Red Bull and their RB20 in the next set of races, fresh from a range of cooling and floor updates being applied to the car in Japan.

“I think we just improved – we’ve got a better car,” said Perez, when asked to compare how the upgraded machine felt to the previous three race weekends.

READ MORE: Perez hails ‘good momentum’ after P2 in Japan amid turnaround from ‘worst weekend’ at Suzuka last year

“Probably this track [Suzuka], it’s hard to see the upgrade, because it’s more biased to other circuits, so I think from that point of view we’ve got to wait a couple of races to really learn from it, from that package.”

Perez will be looking to build further momentum at this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix, with the Shanghai International Circuit back on the F1 calendar – and playing host to the first Sprint event of the season – after a five-year absence.

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