Perez Stunned by Ferrari’s Melbourne Victory as Red Bull Targets Suzuka Rebound

Securing a crucial ten points for Red Bull, Checo clinched fifth place in Melbourne. Reflecting on the weekend’s events at Albert Park, Sergio Perez expressed his surprise at Ferrari’s impressive performance as Red Bull gears up for the next challenge in Japan.

Arriving at the third race weekend of the season with consecutive second-place finishes, Perez initially qualified in third position. However, a three-place grid penalty pushed him down to sixth on the starting grid.

Meanwhile, his teammate, aiming for a hat-trick of wins in 2024, secured pole position. Nevertheless, the Australian Grand Prix took an unexpected turn as Max Verstappen retired on lap four due to a right rear brake issue.

With Verstappen out of contention, Perez found himself tasked with overtaking McLaren and Ferrari cars. Despite successful maneuvers past George Russell and Fernando Alonso, Perez struggled to gain significant ground on the frontrunners.

Christian Horner, Red Bull’s Team Principal, attributed Perez’s lack of progress to a mid-race incident that affected the downforce of his RB20 car. Consequently, Perez settled for fifth place while Ferrari claimed a dominant 1-2 finish.

Post-race, Perez shared his thoughts with, acknowledging his surprise at Ferrari’s pace and reflecting on both his and the team’s performance.

“Yeah, I was a bit surprised to see they were so strong. They were able to maximise their package and it worked well for them.

“We just struggled to put the car in the window. I think the first stint I was very rear-limited [with the tyres], we were trying to protect the front, but we overdid it.

“Then, going onto the second and third stint, we just degged off the front-left tyre, so it wasn’t ideal, unfortunately, and I think there is some work to do in that regard.”

As attention turns to the upcoming race in Japan, Checo remains optimistic that the RB20 will regain its peak performance at the Suzuka circuit. This hope stems from Ferrari’s recent efforts, which have narrowed the gap to just four points in the Constructors’ Championship standings.

“I think when we go to a track like this, already last year in Las Vegas, for example, Ferrari was very strong,” he stated. “We struggled a lot for front graining, so I guess it is a bit track dependent, so hopefully when we are back in Suzuka, we are back on top.”