Sergio Perez insists that his recent struggles are only a blip in his F1 campaign, arguing that it is not unusual for drivers across the grid to suffer from difficult spells.
The Mexican driver is almost 100 points behind teammate Max Verstappen in the standings, having also failed to secure a Q3 appearance in his last five attempts.
Not only do these exits reflect poorly on Perez’s ability to extract the maximum from his RB19, but they also raise doubts about the strength of Red Bull’s driver pairing.
An increasingly competitive grid (as seen with the resurgence of McLaren) will mean that poorly executed Saturdays cannot be so easily overturned on race day.
The 33-year-old acknowledged this when speaking to the media in Hungary, though he also defended his record in 2023:
“I know that I have full support from my team.
“At the end of the day, I know what I have to do, and how I have to deliver.
“I’m second in the Championship for a reason. I think I had a great start of the season, but I had a bit of a rough patch.
“No different to any other driver on the grid, we have all had difficult periods of time – but that’s it.”
It is true that Perez started the year in relatively strong form, securing two race victories and avoiding some of the more disastrous session of recent weeks.
Still, the Mexican driver’s victories were largely helped by issues from Verstappen’s side of the garage, and even then – for example in Miami – the Dutchman showed a clear edge.
Daniel Ricciardo’s arrival is certainly an added pressure for Perez, as Red Bull evaluate whether the youthful Tsunoda or more experienced Ricciardo can become viable options.
There are no guarantees in F1, much less in Red Bull or AlphaTauri, so there will be an added level of scrutiny over next twelve race weekends.
Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang