Perez Struggling to Catch Up with Red Bull F1’s Latest Upgrades

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Sergio Perez kicked off the current F1 season with remarkable flair, clinching two victories and making it clear he was not just there to make up the numbers. He appeared set to give Max Verstappen, Red Bull’s resident two-time world champ, a run for his money.

However, the tables began to turn at the Miami Grand Prix. There, Verstappen spectacularly surged from behind to relegate Perez, who had started in pole position, to second place. Since that race, Verstappen has been on an absolute tear, chalking up nine straight wins and effortlessly capturing both sprint victories post-Miami. Meanwhile, Perez finds himself lagging behind, his sights shifted from challenging Verstappen to worrying about who’s catching up to him from behind.

This 2023 season eerily mirrors Perez’s experience last year, when he felt that Red Bull’s series of upgrades gradually steered the car’s performance more in line with Verstappen’s driving preferences rather than his own.

Recently at the Monza Grand Prix, Perez owned up to his struggles with the upgraded RB19. “Across seasons or even within a single season, drivers encounter upgrades that either jive well with their style or don’t,” he acknowledged. “There are times when a new part fits like a glove, instantly boosting your performance. Then there are instances where you have to adjust your driving to make the most of the upgrade.”

Perez conceded, “I’ve been slower to adapt than I should’ve been, requiring me to tweak my driving approach more than I did at the season’s outset when everything was coming together so naturally.”

(Photo: Dom Romney / F1 Flow Images)

Perez’s significant 1.3-second lag behind Verstappen during the qualifying rounds of the recent Dutch Grand Prix turned heads, even catching the attention of Mercedes’ head honcho, Toto Wolff. Wolff insinuated that the Red Bull machine was being specifically tailored to Verstappen, a suggestion that Verstappen quickly brushed off.

However, Perez believes his lackluster showing at Zandvoort was a one-off, attributing it to complicated weather conditions. “Nailing the conditions is crucial for exploiting the car’s full potential,” he explained. “Fail to do that, and the performance gap will balloon. We’ve seen this with other drivers as well.”

Perez concluded, “I hit a rough patch mid-season where I was having the hardest time getting to grips with the car. But I believe that’s water under the bridge now, and we’re looking at a series of strong performances moving forward.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Sergio Perez Struggles

What is the main theme of the article?

The main theme of the article is Sergio Perez’s difficulties in adapting to Red Bull’s F1 car upgrades, which have been more suited to his teammate Max Verstappen’s driving style. Perez acknowledges his struggle and vows to adjust and improve.

Who has been dominating the Red Bull team recently?

Max Verstappen has been dominating the Red Bull Racing team recently, winning nine consecutive races and both sprint races since the Miami Grand Prix.

Did Sergio Perez perform well at the beginning of the 2023 season?

Yes, Sergio Perez had a strong start to the 2023 season, bagging two early wins and posing a credible title challenge to Max Verstappen. However, he has found it increasingly difficult to keep pace with Verstappen as the season progressed.

What is significant about Perez’s performance at the Dutch Grand Prix?

Sergio Perez lagged significantly behind Max Verstappen by 1.3 seconds during the qualifying rounds at the Dutch Grand Prix, raising questions about whether the Red Bull car is tailored more towards Verstappen’s driving style.

What did Toto Wolff, the Mercedes chief, suggest about Red Bull’s car design?

Toto Wolff suggested that the Red Bull car seemed to be designed around its star driver, Max Verstappen. However, Verstappen quickly dismissed this idea.

How does Perez explain his performance at Zandvoort?

Perez attributes his performance at Zandvoort to tricky mixed weather conditions rather than a fundamental inability to adapt to the car. He believes that mastering the conditions is crucial for maximizing the car’s potential.

Does Perez think he will improve in the upcoming races?

Yes, Perez believes that the worst days of struggling with the car’s latest upgrades are behind him. He feels confident that he will have stronger performances in the upcoming races.

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