The recent Azerbaijan Grand Prix saw Sergio Perez emerge victorious, firmly establishing himself as a strong contender for the world title as he continues to pursue his Red Bull teammate, Max Verstappen.
However, despite having won six F1 races, Perez’s track record shows that five of these victories have been on street circuits, raising doubts about his ability to succeed on more conventional tracks.
Nonetheless, Perez remains optimistic about his prospects, citing the significant progress he has made in unlocking his Red Bull’s potential.
He believes that this newfound performance edge, which enabled him to outperform Verstappen in Saudi Arabia and Baku this year, will translate to success on regular circuits as well.
“The reason I’m strong on these circuits is because I am able to play with the car much more than I used to,” he said.
“So I see no reason why, when we go to different circuits, I am not able to play with the car the same way I’ve been doing.”
The Mexican driver asserts that his exceptional performance on street circuits can be attributed to his confidence in pushing the car to its limits, as well as his ability to handle the heightened pressure that comes with racing in close proximity to walls.
“I think in the street circuits you have to be very strong in the race, and very strong with the pressure,” he said. “You have to be able to handle the pressure because you’re not able to make mistakes. If you do a small mistake, in a normal circuit, you can get away with it.
“But in the streets, you cannot get away with those mistakes. And I probably have more confidence than others come race day.
“At the end of the day, the way I won in Baku on pure pace, it doesn’t matter if it’s a street circuit or a permanent circuit. If I’m able to do that in Baku I can do that anywhere.”
Throughout the season, Perez has been given the freedom to compete with Verstappen on equal terms, and he is confident that this policy will continue to be upheld, giving him an equitable chance at the championship.
“I do believe that the team will give me as much support as they do with Max, as that is what they’ve been doing since pretty much the start of the season,” he said.
“In that regard, I think we have to appreciate that a lot from Red Bull. It would be very easy for Red Bull to implement team orders from lap 20, to look after the cars and make sure we have a very reliable car and so on.
“But no, in Jeddah and in Baku, we’ve pushed flat out throughout the race, and we hit the wall a few times both drivers.”