Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Baku City Circuit, 2023

Perez learning what Verstappen is doing differently as he targets 2024 F1 title

Formula 1

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Despite finishing a long way off the top spot this year, Sergio Perez has set his sights on going one better than his championship runner-up spot next year.

“That’s the main target for me,” said Perez after securing second place in the championship, the highest finishing position of his career. “I’ve already finished second, my main interest is to do one better.

“I’m aware of the challenge that it is. We’ve got to really take this winter time to try to start the season on a high and be able to maintain that level of consistency throughout the season.”

Perez made the strongest start to a season in his 13-year Formula 1 career this year, finishing second at Bahrain International Circuit and winning from pole position in Jeddah. The last time he scored more than 12 points in the opening two races was in 2012 while driving for Sauber, when he finished eighth in Melbourne and second at Sepang.

He also had his strongest end to a season last year with third place in Las Vegas followed by fourth at Yas Marina last month. But over 22 grands prix and six sprint races he scored 20 fewer points than in 2022, when there were only three sprint races and he came third in the standings.

A title challenge from Perez would have to avoid the significant mid-season dip in competitivity he suffered this year as he struggled at times with his usually dominant Red Bull RB19 car.

“I think it’s about the car, how I was making use of it and how I can make better use of it through the weekend, through different circuits,” Perez reflected. “And in all of that I think I made a lot of progress, together with my engineer, in understanding how to maximise the performance of the car.

Perez said he has paid attention to Max Verstappen’s performances this year as his team mate won the world championship for the third year in a row and believes he can use that to perform better next year.

“Our relationship is really good,” said Perez. “I think the whole engineering, when we are in all those briefings through so many races, I think it’s been good. We’ve been pushing at times in different directions, but at the same time we’ve [often] been strongly asking for the same stuff. So that also has been positive for the team.”

“Definitely there are things that you learn from him,” Perez added. “I think I have the best reference out there because he was the one who was so competitive.

“So I think there’s no harm in looking at what he’s doing, how he’s doing it and trying to learn and improve, see what works for you that he’s doing differently to you. I think I’ve always had a very open approach and I think it’s something that works well.”

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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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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33 comments on “Perez learning what Verstappen is doing differently as he targets 2024 F1 title”

  1. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    6th December 2023, 8:18


    1. That was my reaction. Also, why even say stuff like this? It only opens him to more pressure and ridicule.

      1. Because otherwise he’d have to say he was aiming for second. Not that difficult to understand is it.

        He’s a racing driver and he wants to win. Whether he does that or not is besides the point.

  2. If Red Bull keep being as dominant as they were in 2023 Perez should focus on reaching Q3 at every Grand Prix. If he can do that he’s halfway to finishing in the top 5.

  3. Hahahahaha

  4. next year Max will go on vacation after Spa if Perez is the only competitor.

    1. Next year Max will make sure that Perez doesn’t take a single win. There’s room for improvement on Max’s part as well.

      My money is on Max improving

      1. And nobody else if he can. We still have Singapore, though. And Monaco was a bit of a lucky win.

        1. Every Red Bull win will be a Max win… the only factor that can prevent that from happening is mechanical DNFs for Max, not Perez’s talent.

  5. Barrichello and Bottas used to say the same thing at the start of every year too… why? If any of the previous years was somewhat close it would be more understandable. Nico Rosberg is one such example. But for these clear number 2 that have been miles behind year after year, insisting on this kind of talk and mentality only makes them look ridiculous to the outside, and I suspect only serves to make them feel more miserable in the long run.

    1. Rosberg is an interesting case as I think he was much closer to Hamilton than Perez is to Verstappen to begin with and it still took a toll on him. I don’t see the same commitment and dedication from Perez, the same way Bottas couldn’t sustain the effort.

      Let’s just accept Perez will trail Verstappen, the question is by how much and if that’s acceptable for RedBull and will most likely depend on their advantage next year.

    2. But for these clear number 2 that have been miles behind year after year, insisting on this kind of talk and mentality only makes them look ridiculous to the outside

      The teams insist the drivers talk this way.

    3. Try to imagine being in his position Pedro. You know that the team is clearly the best, smoothest ran operation, their car is the best and there is no sign of it reaching the end of it’s potential, and your teammate is chalking up records with it whenever the opportunity presents itself.
      So you know you can hardly blame the car for not achieving, since any critique comes back to “yes but max does manage, so change your style” and you know there is no foul play involved this year within the team, since there really was no need for that this year at any stage.

      In my view you then have only 2 (or I guess 3) options 1. to find areas where you can improve (learn from that teammate) where you have weaker areas and be certain enough (or at least tell yourself that) to try and better him, or 2. to accept you cannot improve anymore, will always be the no.2 in the team and be happy to settle for that role in a car that will certainly give you another few wins and accolades as well as money. Or that 3rd one, step out, accept that you aren’t up to it and go do something else.

      I think that really options 2 and 3 are more or less the same – It means you stop being a top driver. I can see how a veteran driver would accept role no. 2 but if you are a competitive animal, like you HAVE to be to be in a top team, you should always want to go a step better, not accept that role.

      I do think that deep down Perez will know that even if he does learn all those lessons from Max and does beat him (like indeed he did do at the start of the year), does become a better version of himself, than that will only mean Max will dig still a bit deeper and improve on himself too though. But I admire how he does go for it, indeed like Rosberg dug as deep as he could to win from Hamilton.

      For Perez to beat Max in another race, fair and square, that is a great achievement, to do it in multiple races is a great feat (Max keeps learning too) and if Sergio really could do it for most of the year, we should all rejoice in seeing a driver find that potential in himself.
      I think that would also motivate Max Verstappen to then make another leap in performance that will be hard to even fathom to get back on top!

      1. Or 4: Accept that you’re likely not going to beat him but focus on getting the utmost out of yourself using Max as a learning example.

      2. Yeah, a bit of what @rolfski said. I appreciate the effort and commitment these people make, but they are humans at the end of the day. This kind of constant beatdown must take a toll on them.

        Those three examples – Barrichello, Bottas, Pérez – are literally going against the very very best ever. Schumacher, Hamilton and Verstappen. I don’t think there’s any shame in still doing the maximum, but accept the likelihood of not being a rival to them. If you still want to believe, at least avoid making these kind of public comments that make you look silly, especially on the back of multiple seasons where you never got anywhere near your team-mate.

  6. I’d love to proved wrong but his fight will be for best of the rest again

    1. Yeah, but I am hugely in favour of him giving it his best go, and would love to see him succeed at least sometimes.

  7. Yeah thanks for the laugh Checo

  8. My raised eyebrow just pushed a ceiling tile up…

    1. If Brezhnev were alive, his brows would have raised an entire floor.

  9. You cannot learn talent. You have it or you don’t.

  10. Coventry Climax
    6th December 2023, 11:52

    We just had a comment of the day that said Perez should be judged on playing his role of having to be second only.

    I already commented on that, but this proves we can just flush that CotD.

    1. Yeah, honestly, I cannot imagine being an F1 driver and just “signing on to be second”.
      I can understand a driver who would sort of agree that he’s expected to be that (like Massa in a “learning from the record champion” at Ferrari) before they will be allowed to spread their wings (but they will still end up feeling like Lewis at McLaren with Alonso wanting to take their chances if they come up IMO).
      You cannot race at this level and just do a so so job. No F1 team would want that (nowadays not even Money seems to buy that, unless there is significant talent as well). Especially not a super competitive team like Red Bull.

      Off course they signed on Perez do try and win, to try and beat Max and be not too far behind when he (as will more often than not happen) fails to beat Max.

      I would think that if he gave up on improving himself, on learning from Max, from the Data etc. and WANTING, no, being SURE that he CAN do it, that would be his immediate exit. He delivered the first races, then Max stepped up and Perez lost himself in trying to find that elusive sweet spot (a bit like how Mercedes have done so in the last year), he was disappointing and surely they nor he can afford for him to do another season like that.

      1. Coventry Climax
        6th December 2023, 23:29

        But @bascb, there’s nothing in Perez’ career that even remotely shows that improving himself, learning from either Max, the data or Volume 1 of ‘How to be a racing driver’ for all I care, is within his capabilities, no matter how much he may want to and even believes it himself (which I actually doubt).
        And ultimately it is not what he thinks of himself -every butcher says his meat is the best-, it is what others -the decision makers- think of him.

  11. Bless his cotton socks. But I guess you’ve got to _aim_ for that at least.

  12. Dream on Sergio. Even if Max (God forbid) has to sit out a few races because of injury or something there is still Lando Norris and Charl LeClerc to be dealt with!

  13. He’s setting the wrong goals again, another deception waiting to happen.

    1. His goals at the start of a season should be achievable… more like –
      1) Look respectable
      2) Don’t crash too often
      3) Make it to Q3 in every Quali session because you have the fastest car by a country mile
      4) Finish 2nd as often as possible

      Perez will just be happier with more achievable targets

  14. He should focus on getting to Q3 in every race. And think out new excuses.

  15. Well, why weren’t you doing this all season? And we should expect you to do next season what you failed to do this season? Sure…..

  16. Ah ****, here we go again.

  17. Good one, Checo

  18. What rubbish comments. I hope he does better next year!

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