Oliver Askew has warned Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll of the difficulties in reversing their “backwards” momentum with the Andretti Formula E racer saying it’s “hard to stop that train.”
Four races into this season and with two victories to his name, Perez had been declaring that he wants to win this year’s Drivers’ Championship title. Four races later, it’s a very different story.
Following on his Azerbaijan Grand Prix victory, Perez suffered a gut-wrenching loss to Max Verstappen at the Miami Grand Prix where the Dutchman came from ninth on the grid to overtake the pole position holder to win the race.
With that seemingly upping the pressure on Perez’s shoulders, the Mexican driver has since made three mistakes in as many qualifying sessions leaving him with a lot of work to do in the grands prix.
And, unlike Verstappen, he hasn’t been able to pull off a win from there and in fact he hasn’t even able to reach the podium in any of those three races.
With his deficit to his team-mate now up to 69 points, Perez has also found his runner-up position in the standings under threat from Fernando Alonso, who is just nine points off the pace.
Askew is worried for Perez.
“In motorsports there’s a snowball effect and when your momentum is going backwards, and for Sergio Perez that is the case, it’s hard to stop that train,” he told the BBC’s Chequered Flag podcast.
“It doesn’t help that his team-mate Max Verstappen is continuing to grow the lead to hand him the championship.
“It was just a couple of weeks ago where he [Perez] felt like he was able to take the fight to Max and now he’s within fighting distance of Fernando Alonso, so it’s very difficult.
“Something that these athletes really need to focus on is the mental aspect of motorsport and how to turn around those things.”
Perez, though, isn’t the only driver under pressure with Aston Martin’s Stroll also failing to match his team-mate.
While Alonso is second only to Verstappen on this season’s podium count with six on the board, Stroll has yet to spray the celebratory podium drink with his best result his P4 at the Australian Grand Prix.
Scoring just two points at his home race in Canada, a race in which his team owner and father Lawrence Stroll had called for a two-car podium, Stroll has just 37 points to Alonso’s 117.
With Aston Martin trailing Mercedes by 13 points in the Constructors’ Championship, the blame for that is being put on Stroll’s shoulders.
“I can’t help but think how much further ahead in the Constructors’ they would be over Mercedes with the help of Lance Stroll,” said Askew.
“Yes he did score points today, [but] it was only a couple. He will be looking to learn how Fernando is getting the success, hopefully, and be able to match him more or just get thereabouts as that’s all he needs to do to help that team.”