Sergio Perez’s race engineer opens up on ‘bad sessions’ at Red Bull

Thomas Maher
Red Bull's Sergio Perez speaks with his engineer Hugh Bird at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Red Bull's Sergio Perez speaks with his engineer Hugh Bird at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Sergio Perez’s sporadic form in 2023 has resulted in some “bad sessions”, and his race engineer Hugh Bird has opened up on how the pair deal with disappointment.

While Max Verstappen and his race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase have become a well-known partnership as the Dutch driver is on track to win his third consecutive title this year, Sergio Perez and his race engineer Hugh Bird have had to be content with the scraps of Verstappen’s dominant campaign.

Bird became a race engineer for the first time in 2021, stepping up from working on Verstappen’s car, and has learned ‘on the job’ with Perez as the pair have become firm friends away from the racetrack.

Hugh Bird: Sergio Perez’s energy helps me to enjoy

With Perez struggling to achieve the consistent results that the other side of the Red Bull garage manages, Bird spoke about his relationship with the Mexican driver as the pair appeared on the Talking Bull podcast.

In a season of very high highs and particularly low lows that have resulted in Perez’s own future with Red Bull being in question, Bird said the pair choose to focus on optimism and positivity regardless of how bad a day on track it has been.

“It’s a journey we’re going on together and, invariably, there will be challenging moments,” Bird said.

“But I’m always amazed when we’ll have a bad session, and then he comes bouncing back in the next day, and it really just feeds that energy.

“Then I see him up for the race, and [that means] I’m up for it as well. ‘Let’s go and push on, and go and enjoy the journey!'”

Perez said that the pair work very hard to ensure there is no finger-pointing at each other: “It would be very easy to blame each other and just put the blame on him, or him on me. But we were here as a team. And I think we have a very strong team.

“We have that passion of, ‘OK, we didn’t have a good day’, or we didn’t perform to our best. We probably didn’t get the maximum of my driving, or from the setup, or from whatever. But we have a new opportunity tomorrow, so we just go for it.”

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Sergio Perez: Hugh Bird never loses faith in me, nor I in him

With Perez and Bird hitting it off well after Red Bull assigned the engineer to oversee their new signing’s racing, the Mexican driver spoke of why he feels they work well together.

“One of the good things about us is age – we are a very similar age,” he said.

“Hugh hasn’t been in the job as a race engineer for many, many years so I’m like his first driver, as a race engineer.

“But I think that the good thing about it is the age, and the sync that we have in our lives out of the sport.

“One of the good things about us is that when we tend to have a very bad day, let’s say a bad quali where everything is against us, most people I’ve known will go down really deeply and couldn’t be thinking about what’s next, which is race day.

“I’ve seen it before with Hugh where we have a bad day and we learn from it straight away, we are already thinking about how are we going to come out of it. That’s something great to have in our relationship because we never lose faith in each other.

“We are here together and we always looking forward to the next target. That’s something that makes us very bulletproof because we’ve had some tough times in our history of three years, but we always somehow managed to get out of it with a lot of success, it’s some sort of good dynamic in that regard!”

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