Two weeks in Austria ‘very important’ for Perez

Jon Wilde
Sergio Perez Imola PA

Sergio Perez Imola PA

Sergio Perez believes this summer’s Austrian double-header provides an ideal chance to accelerate his learning of the Red Bull car.

The Mexican driver is still getting used to the RB16B after joining the team for this season, with a general consensus that he needs to improve his qualifying performances in particular.

Apart from a front-row start for the second race of 2021 at Imola, Perez has been well down on his team-mate Max Verstappen’s times on Saturdays before stepping up in the races.

Five grands prix into the campaign, the 31-year-old has contributed 44 points to Red Bull’s cause as they fight Mercedes for the Constructors’ World Championship.

But comparatively more is required from Perez, who is finding the car much different from the Racing Point he was in last season – having spent seven years with the same team.

On a revised calendar, F1 now has the Styrian and Austrian Grands Prix on back-to-back weekends as June turns into July and Perez thinks they will be crucial to his development.

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Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing

“I think that will be very, very important,” said Perez, quoted by RaceFans. “Going to more circuit places, especially Austria, doing two weekends, that will really speed up my learning.

“Whenever there is a little variable, I’m not fully at home with the car yet. But I can see light at the end of the tunnel.

“[It’s] changing compounds, changing wings, changing weather, those kind of things. When you know a car like the back of your hand, it’s very easy to adapt to those situations.”

However, Perez is far from alone in being a vastly experienced driver struggling with the adjustment to his new car.

Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren), Fernando Alonso (Alpine) and Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) have had similar experiences, even if Carlos Sainz has found the transition to Ferrari easier.

“It’s a very unique season in that regard,” said Perez. “Drivers changing teams, normally in the past, hasn’t been such a big thing.

“But this year with so many variables out there, it has just made it harder. Some drivers have done a better job of it than others.

“I’m not the only one out there who is struggling with a new car. I haven’t forgotten how to do the job, but it’s just unfortunately taking me longer than I would like to.”

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