Formula One

Perez hints at change of ‘driving style’ as cause of struggles


Sergio Perez suffered a premature exit from qualifying in Barcelona, the Red Bull driver committing a mistake that barred him access to the Saturday shootout for the second consecutive race weekend.

Perez once again only had himself to blame for his early exit. After crashing in Monaco in Q1, the Mexican ran wide into the gravel trap at the Circuit de Catalunya’s Turn 5 during a push lap in Q2 and was unable to recover thereafter.

Perez admitted that he hadn’t been feeling comfortable onboard his RB19, alluding to experimenting with his driving style to better exploit – like teammate Max Verstappen – the qualities of his dominant car.

“It hasn’t been a straightforward weekend; the conditions were quite tricky, and I wasn’t that comfortable in qualifying,” he revealed.

“I’ve been trying to modify my driving style quite a bit this weekend and as soon as we had some variable conditions it put us on the back foot, and I just couldn’t get the full potential out of the car.


“Going into turn 5, the track was a little bit damp and I just lost the rear and went into the gravel, so we ended up losing a bit of time which was very costly for us.

“That incident meant that the tyres were too hot on my final lap and it was hard to come back from.”

Despite his qualifying setback, Perez, a two-time winner this season with Red Bull, was hopeful of powering up the pecking order from the outset in Sunday’s race.

“It is frustrating, but it’s not Monaco,” he said. “It’s a race where we can race and we can get a lot of points.

“There are a lot of cars out of position, so it can be an interesting race tomorrow.”

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner believed tyres were “a crucial factor” in Perez’s underperformance and mishap.

“We checked all the aero loads after Q1, the support back at the factory were able to look at the analysis between the two cars, are they generating the same amount of downforce?” explained Horner.

“They were like for like, so we couldn’t see any part misbehaving. Obviously we will do a big inspection this evening, but I think it was just about getting the tyres into the window because we know Checo isn’t that far off.

“He just didn’t get the car working today.”

Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko reckoned that Perez has been getting mentally sidetracked lately by his dreams of winning the world championship.

“With Sergio, things have not been going well since Monte Carlo. He needs to concentrate more on racing, not on the title,” Marko told Sky Deutschland.

“The whole weekend it was already the case that he was three-to-five-tenths slower.

“Checo is getting a relatively hard wake-up call now, but I’m sure he’ll pick himself up again.”

Ahead of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix – round 7 of the 2023 F1 world championship, Verstappen leads Perez in the Drivers’ standings by a comfortable 39 points.

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Perez hints at change of ‘driving style’ as cause of struggles

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