Perez “not too concerned” by challenge of reversing five-race qualifying slump

2023 British Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez is confident he will be able to reverse his recent poor run of results in qualifying, which continued last weekend.

While his team mate Max Verstappen has started the last five races from pole position, Perez has lined up no higher than 11th, and hasn’t appeared in Q3 since the Miami Grand Prix two months ago.

Perez will work on the difficulties he’s had in a session on the Red Bull simulator today.

“I think it’s just the amount of details,” he explained. “I have become a little bit more sensitive to the car in the last few races, especially on Saturday when on low fuel. It’s something that I’m going to be working on already from tomorrow [Monday] in the simulator with the team.

“We have some ideas [about] how we operate in such a small window of detail. It’s just that we need a strong Saturday and the positive thing is that the pace is there on Sundays where at the end of the day the points are given. But we just have to sort it out and have a clean weekend because the pace is there.”

Rain has affected several of the last five qualifying sessions, which Perez said has contributed to his difficulties in the car.

“I think it’s with my driving, how I am approaching the Saturdays, how we are doing it as a team. We just have to figure it out, the amount of detail. For example, the last qualifying [sessions] that I’ve had they’ve been in changeable conditions and it’s where a lot of detail comes in play.”

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“So I’m not too concerned, I think we had a great Friday in terms of pace, we just have to sort out the qualifying and we’ll be fine.”

Perez finished yesterday’s race sixth after lining up 15th on the grid. “Nothing worked today,” he said afterwards.

“I had a great launch, but then I was pushed off by Ocon on lap one. I lost positions instead of gaining, so it just made it harder, the recovery.”

He collided with Nico Hulkenberg at one stage as he tried to make up ground. “We clipped, I think I was lucky to not get a puncture,” Perez said, calling it “a little race incident.”

He lost further ground when he pitted shortly before the Safety Car was deployed. “I used too much my tyres on the first stint, and then we boxed I think three laps before the Safety Car. So it wasn’t meant to be, but in the end we we gave it all and we did what we possibly could.”

Despite having fallen 99 points behind Verstappen in the championship, Perez remained upbeat about his chances over the remainder of the season.

“We’re making a lot of progress because the pace is there on Sundays,” he said. “But it’s just the whole weekend overall. We’ve had a few bad weekends but at the end of the day it only matters where we finish in Abu Dhabi.

“So it’s a long season still, and I fully believe that I can get my season back on-track.”

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2023 British Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
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27 comments on “Perez “not too concerned” by challenge of reversing five-race qualifying slump”

  1. I am always very intrigued by the rise and fall of drivers and I always imagine it’s probably just small things that make one unravel or shine – little things that are very hard to identify and when you start searching for it in the wrong place you are screwed. Curious to see if Perez can find his feet again or if he like Ricciardo get’s stuck.

  2. I don’t doubt that, sooner or later, he will start getting out of Q3 again. However, is that enough?

    Max is head and shoulders above him in performance, we can all see that. The performance gap between them looked narrower at the start of the season: While few expected him to match Max over the course of a season, he looked to be able to comfortably take second, plus the odd win when Max had trouble. However, since then his performance has plummeted.

    We do need to remind ourselves that the RBRs advantage is much smaller in qually than in the race. So there is less to pick Sergio’s performances up. But even so, he’s in a car which his teammate puts comfortably on the front row most races, then often wins by over a pitstop. Is it acceptable that, with such a car advantage, Perez can’t even get out of Q3?

    RBR have binned their second driver frequently when they have been performing better than Perez has this season for less time. Are we going to see another mid-season swap from RBR? I’d like to see Danny Ric in that car, or even see Yuki or Nyck given a shot. Don’t get me wrong, I like Perez, but I don’t like how badly he is performing in what appears to be the standout car of the season. At least if we got another good driver in there, we would have a better idea of how much is the car and how much is Max.

    1. I wouldn’t mind seeing Yuki, Dan or Albon in that car. I reckon they’ll all be better than Perez from the get go.

      1. It takes a certain mindset to be a number 2 drivers in a team like this. You’re effectively the only driver on the grid who isn’t really racing… You’re a support driver. Obviously for the first few races of a season, that isn’t the case. You are free to go for it and you are 100% in the title fight but once you slip behind your team mate, that stops being the case and your job is simply to help the team.

        We saw the same with Bottas – great at the start of the season but then as he slipped behind and was no longer racing, the pace just fell off. People used to criticise his racecraft but when you’re not really racing, you lose some of the aggressiveness that you’d otherwise have.

        Despite the regular claims of “it’s the car – not the driver”, this sort of thing shows how much of an impact the driver really makes. If you took Perez out of the Red Bull and put him in another team, I think he’d be very competitive against most drivers on the grid. I don’t think Yuki, Ricciardo or Albon would beat him (and if they did, not by a big margin).

        Unless you’ve got someone in the 2nd Red Bull who can compete with Max, I think the results would be largely the same as we’re seeing with Checo.

      2. Hi @todfod

        Tsunoda or Ricciardo yes, Albon no

        Albon was released from Red Bull and has no current ties with them, as far as I’m aware

      3. I maybe wrong but I cannot quite see Yuki up to the challenge
        Dan? Maybe, Once he used to be pretty good, even WDC material, and then lost his mojo, can he recover it? Anyway when he was Max’s teammate things got pretty sticky and nobody at RBR wants to go through that again I guess.
        Albon? I wish he could be driving a RBR along Max, but hey, that train has gone. But now that we are at it, I’d propose Fred.

    2. @drmouse I was thinking about the Bottas comparison (as it’s mentioned quite a lot, Pérez seen to be a worse ‘second driver’ than Bottas at Mercedes). When Bottas went into decline with the team, it tended to be during races. He’d qualify reasonably well but then had a habit of making mistakes and dropping back during the race, where he wasn’t able to recover well. Pérez has compounded the latter problem, not clearing through traffic quickly even in the fastest car, by making a real mess of qualifying on numerous occasions. Also tyre nursing is no longer a major aspect of races. And finally the quality of drivers in the top half of the grid is really high – most of them arguably better racers than him. Arguably all he has to do is qualify in P4 or P5 and he should finish second. Why that is beyond him at the moment is baffling.

    3. Tsunoda and de Vries? Tsunoda has improved this year, but he does not shine. Maybe he’ll become a strong midfield driver, but I doubt that too. He has bad attitude towards his job. I’m still surprised he wasn’t sacked already. Probably due to lack of talent in young driver pool. De Vries is even worse and I think if he had something to show, he had shown it already, we had 10 races. No point in giving him season or two to show his talent, or lack thereof. I think Ricciardo would be a more proper replacement of Perez. It’s not easy to be Verstapen’s team mate.

      1. Agree, makes no sense to get de vries, a driver who maybe isn’t even worthy of the B team seat, or tsunoda, who is barely worth that; they can gamble with ricciardo and give him a few races to see if they get the old ricciardo or the mclaren one.

    4. @drmouse Two different circumstances. Perez will continue at RB because they are comfortably ahead of the rest but in the past they had to extract every bit of performance in the car and bad performances meant a lower standing in the championship. Marko already told Perez is good at races where the points are given, also the fact that he doesnt crashes which is very important in budget cap era. Its only quali he has to focus. I doubt they are gonna replace him any time soon.

      1. @illusive That’s fine while they are as dominant as they are right now. However, what happens if we get a miracle and another team catches them for next season? If Perez continues at his current level, that could easily lose them the WCC. So, to stay in contention, they’d need to change drivers mid season and the new driver would need time to settle in. Having a driver performing so badly in the second seat is a massive risk for them, especially if they really do think their “penalty” is going to affect them as much as they say.

        Of course, it could be that they know they are barely going to be affected and will probably have just as much of an advantage at the start of next season as this one. In that case, it makes more sense to keep Perez around, but it also means they’ve been lying through their teeth all season*. But it’s still taking a fairly significant risk if he doesn’t pull his socks up sharpish.

        * Which would be such a surprise and really out of character… (end of sarcasm)

  3. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
    10th July 2023, 12:58

    Not too concerned implies he thinks his contract is solid but he should be very concerned he cannot be in P2 or 3 every race.

    Verstappen has commented he can win the constructors on his own which must be very cheery news for Perez.

    1. @andyfromsandy or maybe it’s a case of putting a brave face on the situation and making it sound like he believes he can get to grips with the situation and turn his performance around.

    2. Indeed, looks like verstappen could win the constructor’s even with perez getting 0 points, at least atm; if a car significantly improves again and starts winning races then that will change but atm, with A LOT of fighting behind red bull, a driver winning and the other retiring every race is plenty.

  4. Robert Henning
    10th July 2023, 14:10

    He deserves to be sacked after the performances he is dropping every week.

    He has the best car on the grid by a reasonable margin and even with his usual 3 to 4 tenth a lap deficit in qualifying and race trim, he should have made the podium in most races. Yet he has fewer podiums than Alonso.

    Red Bull better put a good driver next to Max soon enough. These regulations are seeing some very fast closing up of the grid, and Mercedes on average has the better driver pairing. With teams finding tenths out of thin air (AM and Macca), they might not even be able to fight for both titles come next year.

    Given Lando doesn’t want that RB seat, they should maybe look out for Oscar Piastri. Webber is his manager and all, and the kid seems quite smart and adaptable.

    I am not sure if Yuki will survive at RB. And both Lawson and Iwasa firstly need to be in F1 before talking about being at Red Bull.

    The driver market is a bit dry right now, which is helping Perez for the time being.

    1. The driver market is a bit dry right now, which is helping Perez for the time being.

      I’m pretty sure any of the drivers towards the back of the grid would jump at the chance to drive that RBR, and it wouldn’t take a huge amount of cash to make their teams release them from contract. I could even see some of those higher up being up for the jump. Just as with the Mercedes dominant period, I’d bet every driver on the grid would at least love to have a drive of the RBR, and as it’s the only championship contender right now, any who aspire to a championship of their own would love to have Checo’s seat.

      1. Robert Henning
        10th July 2023, 15:11

        I’m pretty sure any of the drivers towards the back of the grid would jump at the chance to drive that RBR, and it wouldn’t take a huge amount of cash to make their teams release them from contract

        Indeed, I am sure most drivers will want to jump and drive that car. The question remains why RB would want someone who wouldn’t necessarily be an upgrade over Perez, not immediately but in the long term. I think there are around 7 to 8 drivers better than Perez on the grid, and I don’t think they’re easily available.

        Because as far as I see it, this season is wrapped up for RB. They lead constructors by 200+ points and this has been one of the easiest WDCs I have seen.

        I don’t think it’s necessary for them to replace Perez immediately given their standings but I, like you, want to see a better driver regardless of the long-term planning at RB.

        This level of incompetency from a second driver is unprecedented.

        1. It’s not a question of driving skills. Checo is OK from that perspective, and anyone superior to his normal level would pose an unnecessary risk of intra-team competition. It’s a question of mental stability and there are not that many decent midfield drivers who could fit to this. Bottas definitely underperforms in a top car. Ocon’s teamwork skills are notoriously weak. Gasly – no doubt matured – still seems to be a kind of rollercoaster, as does Sainz and Magnussen. Hulk is old. Danny Ric should first prove elsewhere that his time is not over yet.
          There are not many options apart from maybe giving a second shot to Albon.

          1. I think albon said he likes it at williams. And he isn’t a red bull associated driver any more.

  5. Meanwhile Bottas in his 5 years at merc started 6 times out of top 10.

    1. Barrichello 2 times between 2000-2004

      1. Couldhard 2 times 1998-2002

    2. Yeah, either Perez is bad, or the car is not as good as everybody thinks.

      1. Perez is bad. End of story …..

      2. The car is really good, you need to look at what the best driver does, and if you have 2 mediocre drivers it’s very likely the car is significantly better than it looks (perhaps aston with vettel and stroll).

        However I’m impressed barrichello and coulthard only failed to get in the top 10 twice in 5 years each, because things can happen, I think the different qualifying format helped them in this regard, you couldn’t be eliminated in 18 mins (most of those years), you had 1h to go for it.

  6. Just put Ricciardo in his seat and we can have some fun the last half of the season.

  7. Not too concerned? Neither was De Vries…..

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