Ted Kravitz spots key change in under-pressure Sergio Perez at Belgian Grand Prix

Oliver Harden
Red Bull driver Sergio Perez smiles during the Drivers' press conference at the Belgian Grand Prix. Spa, July 2023.

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez smiles during the Drivers' press conference at the Belgian Grand Prix. Spa, July 2023.

Sky Sports F1 pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz believes Sergio Perez is looking more confident at the Belgian Grand Prix after ending his tough run of results in Hungary last weekend.

Perez emerged as a potential F1 2023 title contender after winning two of the opening four races in the Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia, but saw his own season implode as Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen went up a gear.

While Verstappen embarked upon a run of seven straight wins, Perez failed to reach Q3 for five races in succession – falling in Q1 in Monaco and Britain and Q2 in Spain, Canada and Austria.

Sergio Perez more relaxed after much-needed return to podium

The Mexican returned to the top-10 shootout for the first time since May 6 at the Hungarian GP, but could only manage ninth with a lap four tenths slower than Verstappen.

However, Perez produced a battling drive on race day in Budapest to claim a much-needed podium finish with third place, extending his lead over Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso to 32 points in the fight for the runner-up spot in the Drivers’ standings.

Having won every race so far in 2023, Red Bull are aiming to extend their run to 12 at Spa, where Perez’s father is in attendance.

And commenting during Sky Sports F1’s coverage of free practice in Belgium, Kravitz noted that Perez has cut a more confident and relaxed figure so far this weekend.

He said: “Red Bull are going for 12 wins in a season, obviously Sergio Perez is part of that story as well.

“I’ve seen a new Sergio this weekend, I really have. He looks confident, he looks like all of the worries of the last few races have disappeared.

“His dad is here, of course, which is always a benefit and great to see Sergio’s dad around the place. It’s a family occasion at Red Bull.”

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Heavy rain in the region has left Friday afternoon’s qualifying session at Spa in serious jeopardy, with the grid set to be formed by Championship order if the session cannot be run.

With Verstappen serving a five-place grid penalty this weekend for exceeding his gearbox allocation, that would mean Perez would start on pole position with Alonso alongside him on the front row and Verstappen down in sixth.

Verstappen memorably won last year’s Belgian GP from 14th on the grid after an engine penalty, with Perez crossing the line finish line almost 18 seconds down despite starting second.

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