Sergio Perez’s resigned verdict on his World Championship chances

Michelle Foster
Red Bull driver Sergio Perez looks reflective after the Austrian Grand Prix sprint race. Styria, July 2023.

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez looks reflective after the Austrian Grand Prix sprint race. Styria, July 2023.

Having fallen 99 points off the pace in the Drivers’ standings, Sergio Perez accepts his target now is “undoubtedly the runner-up” position.

Arriving on the 2023 grid declaring this could be his season, Perez was equal to his team-mate Verstappen in the early rounds, so much so it seemed for a moment that their battle could come down to fastest lap points.

Separated by just six points after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix with each driver having put two grands prix wins on the board, Perez’s title challenge suffered a huge mental blow in Miami when, despite starting from pole position, he lost to Verstappen who was only P9 on the grid.

Sergio Perez has just one podium in the last five races

From there it has been a backwards slide for Perez.

With Miami the last time he feature inside the top-ten in qualifying, the Mexican driver has secured one podium result in the five races since, five races that Verstappen has won to stroll out to a 99-point lead over his team-mate in the championship race.

But while Perez has reiterated that Abu Dhabi, the venue of the season finale, is when the scores will be counted, he admits his target is now P2.

“In Formula 1, only your position in Abu Dhabi matters,” he told Spanish daily AS.

“But I am not second in the World Championship by a miracle, I have won races. I’ve had some bad races, but we have everything ahead of us.

“Target now? Undoubtedly the runner-up in the championship. But I’m only think about the Hungarian GP.”

Such has been Perez’s fall from grace, the Mexican driver is only 19 points ahead of third-placed Fernando Alonso in the standings, and that’s despite the RB19 being a much faster car.

Perez was full of praise for his Spanish rival, impressed with what Alonso has already achieved in his first season with Aston Martin with the double World Champion having bagged six podiums, that’s one more than what Perez has managed.

But it’s not just Alonso who has caught his attention with the driver also noting McLaren’s recent upswing while putting in a kind word for Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz. recommends

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“Fernando is a big surprise this year,” he said, they have made a big step, but also McLaren in the last race. Everything is much closer with these rules.

“And Carlos is a great driver, Fernando too. There is no reason to compare them, Spain should take advantage of and enjoy the great moment it is having because it may not be repeated in the history of Spanish motorsports.”

Asked who’ll finish P2 behind Verstappen, he laughed: “Hopefully the Mexican!”

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