Many fans have tried to pinpoint the weekend that Red Bull driver, Sergio Perez, began to lose confidence and thus achieve worse results in both qualifying and the race. Many thought it was Monaco, where he pushed too hard, but in a candid interview with De Limburger, Perez explained that it was his defeat in Miami that sent him into a spiral.
At the start of the season, Perez was in fine form, having won a couple of races and remaining close to his teammate, Max Verstappen, though since Miami he hasn’t come close. Verstappen went on to win 11 of the following 12 races since.
“When the season started, the car suited me perfectly,” Perez told the Dutch publication.
“But cars evolve during the season. After Miami, things went downhill. I had a different car that didn’t suit me so well. Then I failed to get into Q3 several times, so my confidence dropped. As a result, the driving went a lot less well.
“I struggled a lot in the summer. In the beginning, I was competing for the world title but, from May onwards, that changed. I was driving without confidence.
“At one point I just didn’t come out [of Q2]. That was very tough. Because you drive with a top team, the pressure to perform increases quickly.
“But I didn’t give up and kept working hard with the engineers to sort things out. My self-confidence came back when I realised that I won races under my own steam earlier this year. I dare say I am 100 percent again now. And I also have the conviction again that I can have a shot at the world title next year.”
Perez: "My Family Deserves to Have a Cheerful Father at Home"
When work isn’t going as well as you’d like, it can have a negative effect on your home life. It’s hard not to bring your work home, which is why Perez enlisted the help of a mental coach.
“Formula 1 is my sport, my life, my passion,” Perez said.
“When you are having such a hard time with your work, it is difficult to be cheerful at home with your wife and children.
“So I hired a mental coach because my family deserves to have that cheerful father at home. Together with my coach, I worked on becoming the best version of myself at home, but also as a driver.
“As a result, I found positivity again. I am now 33 years old, but I am still learning every day. On the track, but certainly also off it. Partly because of this, I will never get tired of Formula 1. It’s really amazing what this sport still gives me.”
Perez iterates that he is thankful to Red Bull for giving him the chance to drive for a top team but acknowledges that it isn’t easy. Despite that, he still wants to finish his career there.
“It would be great if I can finish my career here,” he said. “But being a driver with this team is not easy. Red Bull Racing operates in a different way than most teams. But that is also why they are so successful.
“In my view, their car is built from a different approach to the other teams. It takes time to get used to that. And, of course, you have to deal with Max Verstappen as a teammate. The past has proven that that is no easy task. Few drivers can handle that pressure.
“I sometimes call it: the toughest job in Formula 1.”
Antonio Perez: “He Was Hired for Second Place”
Sergio’s staunchest defender is his father, Antonio Perez, who says his son’s place in the team is to be second place and that everyone, including his son, has “to understand that.”
In a video published by ESTO.com.mx on TikTok, Perez senior said, “The position that Checo is now in is exactly the one he was hired for: second place. There is only room for one world champion, you have to understand that.
“He has to work, he has to earn everything hard. But all this was built around and for Max, and he must respect that.”
Sergio is struggling with a car whose characteristics, according to Perez senior, are not in his favour.
“The car is tuned for Max,” Perez sen. added. “Max drives with all the grip at the front, while Checo preferred to have more grip at the back all his life. So Checo has to drive the car as Max prefers.”
Was Perez’s choice to join Red Bull a mistake? Papa Perez doesn’t think so. Before joining, he had one win with Racing Point, and now he has an added another five.
“If Checo switched to another team, he could be fourth or sixth again, just like before,” Perez sen. said. “When Checo was tenth at the time, we were proud because he had scored a point. Now he is second and we are disappointed because we want him to win. He spoiled us.”
It seems the Perez family stands united with Checo and are providing a solid support system that can’t help but be admired. Sergio Perez is set to continue driving for Red Bull in 2024 though it remains to be seen if he can come back stronger than before.