Perez made “very good progress” in Austin but admits more was possible

Formula 1

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Sergio Perez was encouraged by the progress he made at the Circuit of the Americas following a string of poor results.

But he admitted he could have got a lot more out of his RB19 with a few set-up changes.

Both Red Bull drivers made up five places from their starting positions in the United States Grand Prix. Max Verstappen won, while Perez gained his final position when Lewis Hamilton’s disqualification moved him up to fourth. This was his best result in a grand prix since Monza.

Perez was generally happy with his performance in the race. “I think we’ve shown at times really good pace. Just my pace on the hard tyre was not good enough to make more progress, so something that we got to look at,” Perez said.

“We know we compromised quite a bit our balance for the weekend given that it was only one practice and this is what happens on the sprint event, you either go wrong direction or right direction but I do expect to be a lot better.”

He started the race ninth, three places behind Verstappen. Perez qualified less than a tenth of a second off his team mate, whose quickest lap time in Q3 was deleted for a track limits infringement.

During the race Perez made three on-track passes during the race but only one was truly for position. The first was on Esteban Ocon, who was heading for retirement in his damaged Alpine, the second was on Daniel Ricciardo after Perez’s first pit stop dropped him behind the AlphaTauri, and the third pass was on the one-stopping and pain-riddled Charles Leclerc for fifth place with four laps to go.

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Verstappen meanwhile charged to victory, passing Russell and Ferrari drivers Carlos Sainz Jnr and Leclerc on track by lap 11, taking the lead from Lando Norris during the second stint then passing Leclerc again after his second pit stop to return to the lead. He finished 18.46 seconds ahead of Perez, the closest the pair have finished a grand prix since Monza.

Although Perez’s fastest lap was 0.282s slower than Verstappen’s, his potential fastest lap based on the combination of his best sector times during the race was actually 0.116s quicker than his team mate’s. He acknowledged he hadn’t consistently extracted the pace from his car over a whole lap, but said that gave him encouragement for the next races.

“I think we’ve made some very good progress, especially considering how much we compromised the car. We believe that we left a lot of [untapped] performance in it. So hopefully we are able to prove that come Mexico next weekend,” he added.

Perez said the reduced practice time available on the sprint race weekend was part of the reason why he hadn’t managed to get as much out of his car as Verstappen.

“We were so lost. I think we were having some difficulties with our preparation on the simulator to what we were experiencing on track, and just on track taking the wrong directions and then end up compromising massively our weekend. So I think we needed to step back a bit and start all over again,” he said.

“I think we didn’t get to show our full pace this weekend, so I really believe that we should be a lot stronger [in Mexico] than what we were today.”

But after a run of races where his deficit to Verstappen has put scrutiny on his level of performance, Perez said “it’s good just to do a full race distance and understand that there is quite a lot more potential coming up”.

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...
RJ O'Connell
Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...

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6 comments on “Perez made “very good progress” in Austin but admits more was possible”

  1. So every race is something like this – there is potential. Well, potential has to be realised. Even if his combined fastest lap time was quicker than Verstapen, we have to take into account Verstapen was battling brake issues. And even outright speed isn’t enough because Perez lacks consistency, and this is the key. Hopefully he finds his form, but he makes look that Red Bull car as only the 4th fastest.

  2. Yeah, it does seem that he’s had a sensible, stable weekend now, so I guess that is Ok-ish? But he really needs to get back to being close to Max, being in the mix for the first rows and being a factor in strategy, or even better get back to pushing for pole and having a chance at winning.

  3. No need to ponder on PR talk, it’s more or less the same thing; they always use the same formula. What I know is that (at least lately, but for many races now) Checo can barely compete with the other 5 drivers from the top 3 teams, and he’s driving for the best of those teams. We stopped comparing him to his team mate, and now he’s kinda losing in comparison to Mercedes and Ferrari drivers, with his current form. And he’s the one with advantage.
    I’m not glad to see that and I’m not going to criticize him and do the classic internet thing, but I see no progress; especially not a “very good” one. I’m sure he does the best he can, but he’s not a top 5 driver and that’s it. RB has a limited choice anyway, with no new great talents on the rise. They would need to bring Norris to make a real improvement, but of course, who knows how that would work out in the end.

  4. Sorry, but what progress Checo made again??

    All he did is to finish ahead of the to Alpines and the others were disqualified.

    1. Guessing he beat russell, piastri (even without the issue I’m guessing) and overtook leclerc.

  5. I mean it is weird that we consider this a good weekend. A P5 on track, when once again his teammate topped every session (bar one track limit infraction of literal inches). It’s still not great, Checo. Anything but 2nd in any race bar Singapore so far was bad.

    Not his worst performance, but the “Checo” chants were undeserved.

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