Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Sochi Autodrom, 2021

Red Bull have “high hopes” to challenge Mercedes after strong Monza form

2021 Russian Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez says Red Bull’s performance at Monza has given them confidence they will be able to challenge Mercedes at one of their rival’s strongest tracks.

Mercedes are undefeated at the Sochi Autodrom but Perez believes Red Bull will be able to challenge them this weekend.

“In Monza we were a lot closer than we expected to be,” he said. “So I think coming here we have high hopes to be really close to them and hopefully we are able to be in front of them.”

Having taken just four points from the four races prior to Monza, Perez said it had been important to secure a good result at the last race. He finished third on the road, but fell to fourth place due to a post-race penalty.

“We had a couple of bad races in a row, [so] it was important to get that strong performance,” Perez said. “Unfortunately, we lost the podium with the penalty, but we did it on track, in a track that is not really suitable for us. So in that regard, I am very pleased with it.

Perez has competed in every Russian Grand Prix held at Sochi Autodrom and never failed to finish in the points, including scoring a podium finish for Force India in 2015. He believes he is well-suited to the circuit.

“It’s a track that I like, I enjoy, but it also suits my driving, especially come Sunday in the race,” said Perez.

“It’s a track where degradation on tyres is small but it’s very hard on the rear tyres. So I think that’s something that has served me well in the past and has given me that opportunity to have good results in this place.”

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2021 Russian Grand Prix

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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10 comments on “Red Bull have “high hopes” to challenge Mercedes after strong Monza form”

  1. I hope they do, we need to keep the fight close.

    1. Unless we have racing incidents.

  2. VER has been performing at a peerless level in that RB16B.
    Pure luck favouring HAM is the only reason the points gap is lower than a more representative 60-plus.

    1. For sure Verstappen has been the better driver this year but at what point do you stop calling it “bad luck”? Or PURE bad luck, in this instance.

      1. You probably mean you’re blaming verstappen for silverstone crash?

      2. Since that’s the most likely explanation, I don’t see how verstappen was supposed to back out in that case, I think he’s become more conservative this year since he has a title contending car, but when you’re clearly in front you can’t expect a driver to simply let the other pass.

  3. About time Perez gets his act together. If it’s a given he’ll do well in the race anyway here, just focus all out on qualifying and get up there.

  4. Max will challenge Merc, not sure about Sergio.

  5. Perez needs to stop talking and start delivering.

    Only in Baku was he a meaningful team member throughout the race , eg protecting his team leader against an undercut.
    Since then it was utterly disappointing.

  6. Well the picture with that title makes it rather funny. We yet need to see Perez distract a reasonable result out of that car. What a nightmare his employment has been so far.

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