Sergio Perez doubts securing P2 target will ‘make any difference’ to Red Bull progress

Henry Valantine
Sergio Perez arrives at his home race.

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez has secured second place in the Drivers' Championship this year.

Sergio Perez is unsure if finishing second in the Drivers’ Championship will feel like progress at Red Bull, as his focus remains set on the “ultimate target” of becoming World Champion.

Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen wrapped up the title with a quarter of the season still to go in Qatar, winning 15 of the 18 races so far this season after an early-season dice that saw him and Perez share the opening four rounds with two wins apiece.

Verstappen surged clear after that, the gap between the two drivers seemingly only growing as the season has progressed, with Verstappen holding almost twice his team-mate’s points tally, despite him holding onto second place in the standings as of his home race in Mexico.

Sergio Perez unsure of how earning P2 will change his mindset

Perez’s third place in the 2022 World Championship was the highest of his career to date, and he is in the box seat to go one better this time around after Lewis Hamilton’s disqualification in Austin gave him a 39-point cushion over the seven-time champion with four rounds to go this year.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has spoken of his desire to secure a first-ever 1-2 in the Drivers’ standings for the team this year, though he denies giving Perez an outright target to achieve that goal.

But if the Mexican ends up taking that accolade, he is unsure how it would make him feel in terms of progression at Red Bull.

“I really don’t know,” Perez told Formula1.com when asked how securing P2 in the Drivers’ standings would help his mentality moving forward.

“I’ll tell you once I get this second-place trophy, but I don’t think it will make any difference.

“If there is a difference, it will be in how I achieve that. I want to achieve it with more victories this year, by finishing the season strong, and having great momentum to go into the winter – still believing that I can be champion in the future, which is the ultimate target.”

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But in the immediate term, Perez admitted when speaking to media in Austin that the deficit he currently carries to Verstappen on track cannot continue.

While he admits that “walking out” would be the easy option, that is not something he is prepared to do.

“Yeah, we cannot have this sort of gap,” he acknowledged.

“Go back to the first six races or so when we were fighting with Max, and I think that’s a target, to get back to that level of comfort with the car.

“It is difficult, of course. It’s not ideal when you go through a difficult patch in your career, but I just love the challenge of getting back at it.

“The easiest thing would be to just walk out of it, but that’s not me, that’s not who I am, and I will not give up.

“I have zero doubts that I will be back to my best level, and that is my only target I have in mind.”

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