q Perez Validates 'Odd' Hypothesis Regarding His Slump in Performance - Bayla Sports F1

Perez Validates ‘Odd’ Hypothesis Regarding His Slump in Performance

Sergio Perez has corroborated that his form took a downturn in 2023, coinciding with his teammate Max Verstappen’s newfound comfort in the same Red Bull vehicle.

Verstappen, having secured a history-matching nine consecutive wins lately, conceded earlier this week that it took him “a few races” to “fine-tune” the single-seater.

“When I understood how to work with the car it became really, really good to drive,” said the Dutchman.

While Verstappen was hitting his stride, Perez, the Mexican driver, had initially been optimistic about a legitimate championship run in 2023, marked by victories at Jeddah and Baku.

However, his form then deteriorated.

“Odd, bizarre,” Toto Wolff, the head of Mercedes, commented last weekend at Zandvoort.

“Checo’s not an idiot. We have seen in all these years he is a grand prix winner, multiple grand prix winner, and he was at Racing Point, so I cannot comprehend.

“We’ve seen that Max has destroyed every single teammate that was with him, so whether it’s his ability to create a car around himself that is just very tricky to control but fast if you can, and that creates those gaps.”

Now 33, Perez confirmed that his racing hasn’t been “coming naturally” since Verstappen initiated his nine-race winning streak post-Baku.

“In the last races I was a little behind and always consciously thinking about how I should drive the car,” he said.

“Sometimes, with the way the car has been developed, it doesn’t really suit me. I have to work harder to get there.”

But in the high-stakes world of F1, a loss of self-assurance can quickly lead to a cascade of errors and a fundamental struggle with the car—creating a vicious cycle.

“In Formula 1, if you are not completely confident with the car at 250kph in a corner, then you start to doubt a little more, and that is what happened in those moments,” Perez admitted.

“It would be easy to sit down and say ‘This is too hard for me’. But in the end you just have to keep going. And like I said, I’m looking forward to continuing this momentum with the team because we have a great car.”