Perez: Red Bull saw that I could be as competitive as Max

While Max Verstappen is more than likely to be the 2022 Formula 1 world champion, his Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez conceded the title but aims to be in the hunt next year as he believes he has proven that he can be “as competitive as Max”.

Heading into Round 17, the Singapore Grand Prix, Verstappen tops the F1 drivers’ standings 144 points clear of Charles Leclerc, Perez nine points behind the Ferrari driver and seven behind George Russell from Mercedes; in other words, Max is anything but champion with six rounds remaining.

Speaking to Fox Sports Mexico, Perez said: “It is important for me to finish the season strong and competitive and to win races. Max will be the champion, so being second or third doesn’t matter to me so that in 2023 I can aspire to win the title again.

With the 2022 F1 Drivers’ Trophy for the Milton Keynes trophy cabinet for the first time since 2013, Perez has helped Red Bull secure the 2022 F1 Constructors’ title.

But clearly, the Mexican veteran wants more: “It was an important year because the team saw that I could be as competitive as Max. We are analyzing it to fight for the title in 2023.”

How the team saw he is at Verstappen’s level is unknown, maybe a gap in the cars? Who knows? But the stats show Perez is well beaten most Grand Prix weekends from the time FP1 starts; he is constantly catching up.

Verstappen has been in fine form, obliterating the field in the last five consecutive races, his teammate included, which has put pressure on Perez as Red Bull has a basket of driver options swirling around the bullpen right now. Despite his recent contract extension, the 32-year-old will know that in F1 it’s not worth much when teams really want to turn things around. In his own camp, he can ask questions about Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly…

Perez: Anyone who knows me knows I’m going to turn things around

sergio perez monaco winner

The pressure is on Perez to up his game from the guy in the No.1 car, and he knows it: “It’s in me and I’m not looking for any excuses, anyone who knows me knows I’m going to spin this. around, I’ll keep working hard and I’m sure I’ll end the year well.

Heading into the Singapore Grand Prix next week, Perez believes their rivals will be strong: “Mercedes are already practically in the fight. Marina Bay can be a very good circuit for Ferrari because on the road circuits they were very good. Moreover, it is a very demanding track.

“We were behind Ferrari at the start of the year but we caught up in the following races. In the end, Red Bull had a great season and I’m looking forward to maintaining that pace until the end of the year” , Perez said.

While the Red Bull RB18 has worked well in the hands of Verstappen, the same cannot be said for Perez who appears to have plateaued or even fallen back from the powerful benchmark the Dutchman has set for himself. And while the world champion is getting better and better, the sister car isn’t faring so well

Perez identified the problem: “Over the last few races as the car progressed. Maybe I didn’t adapt well to the new car, but it’s something I’m working with my engineering team to get back. I am the same driver as six months ago.

“Anyone who knows me knows that I will change the cards on the table, that I will recover to finish the season in style, also because I want to get back to winning races, and that is my objective for the last six races. And of course, finally, winning the Mexican Grand Prix is ​​definitely my career dream,” Perez concluded.

Last year Perez finished third in his home race and if he wins at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on October 30, he would be the first Mexican to do so on home soil.

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