Sergio Perez has said it is “critical” for Red Bull to pile further pressure on Ferrari after the summer break, despite holding a healthy lead in both championships.
Perez’s team-mate Max Verstappen recovered from his fifth-row grid slot to take an excellent win on Sunday, with Perez largely unable to match his Red Bull colleague’s pace.
He was reeling in Carlos Sainz and George Russell in front of him at around a second per lap towards the end of the race, but a late Virtual Safety Car period for Valtteri Bottas’ retirement halted him from launching a challenge for a podium place, eventually coming home P5.
Reflecting on the race as a whole, he said he felt like the car had strong speed within it after splitting the two Ferrari drivers, but alongside Verstappen’s victory, it proved to be a good weekend all round for Red Bull.
“Yeah, there certainly was a lot of pace, especially I think with these conditions. We managed to get more pace out of it, so it was certainly a good race for us,” Perez told Sky Sports F1 after the chequered flag.
Max Verstappen brilliantly wins the #HungarianGP from 10th on the grid!
— PlanetF1 (@Planet_F1) July 31, 2022
Perez has fallen further behind Verstappen in recent races after a strong start to the season, with Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko recently claiming that the Mexican had already been in a “summer slump” before the break started.
He was well off the pace in qualifying on Saturday too, but he said things were easier for him in race trim around the Hungaroring.
“I was certainly more comfortable in this race,” he said. “We are making good progress, especially in today’s race I think yesterday in qualifying.
“We understand what we did so hopefully, when we come back after summer break, we are in a position to be a lot stronger.”
The Red Bull driver goes into the summer break third in the Drivers’ Championship, albeit 85 points behind team-mate Verstappen at the top, but he has played his part in Red Bull holding a 97-point lead over Ferrari heading into the August recess.
When asked how important it is for Red Bull to keep taking advantage of their rivals’ misfortunes, his answer was unequivocal.
“Certainly, I think that will be critical for us to make sure we are able to deliver that,” Perez concluded.