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Perez admits he ‘should have done a better job’ in Qatar as Red Bull ‘desperately’ need him back on form

Red Bull had a tale of two halves over the Qatar Grand Prix weekend with Max Verstappen securing his third drivers' title whilst Perez racked up the penalties

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Whilst Max Verstappen achieved his third consecutive world drivers’ title, Sergio Perez had an unfortunate weekend in Qatar. The Mexican is now under threat of losing P2 in the championship and has admitted he “should have done a better job.”

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez crashes out as his car was removed from the track after the accident during the sprint race of the F1 Qatar Grand Prix. (Photo by Mohammed Dabbous/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The Qatar Grand Prix was one to remember for Red Bull as Max Verstappen took victory in the Grand Prix after having won the 2023 Drivers’ Championship. However, for the Milton Keynes outfit, it was a tale of two halves.

On the other side of the garage, Sergio Perez had a rather unfortunate weekend. The Mexican struggled in Qualifying on the Friday, setting a time that was only good enough for P13 on the grid. For the Sprint Shootout, Perez was able to improve as put his car P8 for the Sprint Race.

But from there, things only got worse for the Red Bull driver.

The Qatar Sprint Race saw Perez retire, making that his third DNF this season. He was involved in an incident with Esteban Ocon and Nico Hulkenberg, which brought out the third Safety Car of the race.

Then during the Grand Prix, Perez began the race from the pit lane and was forced to work his way through the field. However, the persistent issue of track limits hindered his race as Perez was given three five-second time penalties. He was able to finish in the points, but his P9 finish showed a clear disparity between himself and Verstappen.

Perez admits his faults

Speaking in a post-race interview, Perez reflected on his race. The Mexican driver admitted that during the race he could have done a “better job”. He said:

“Yeah, it was very difficult. I should have done a better job but also just to judge where you put the car in the high speed was so difficult.

“Not really a lot to say… I think we got some work to do. We’re going to be working already from tomorrow at the factory with the team because we have good idea and directions we’ve taken and the directions we need to improve.

“Yeah there are a lot of things that we got to look back at and see what we are able to do.”

In his interview, Perez touches on the difficulty of where to put the car. Many of the drivers also spoke about how challenging the race was with many feeling ill and having to seek medical attention.

Red Bull ‘desperately’ need Perez to be stronger

Christian Horner, Team Principal of Red Bull, spoke after the race as well. Having celebrated Verstappen’s third championship win the day before, Horner confirmed that Perez’s recent run of form hasn’t been up to par with what Red Bull expect.

As reported by AutoSport, Horner told the media:

“I think we really need to sit down with Checo because we know what he’s capable and he’s not hitting that form at the moment.

“We desperately need him to find that form to keep this second place in the championship.

“So it was frustrating that he’s only come out of the weekend with one point. And I think he could have, even starting from the back of the grid, there was an opportunity to score heavily today or decently.

“But we’ll support him as much as we can because there’s the triple-header coming up. There’s a huge amount of points with sprint races as well.”

A missed opportunity for Perez

The Qatar Grand Prix began with a retirement from Lewis Hamilton. The seven-time world champion had an incident with his teammate, George Russell, forcing him into the gravel. Hamilton has since apologised for what happened.

However, with Hamilton out of the race, it was an opportunity for Perez to score more points and create a bigger gap between the two in the standings. At the moment, Perez is in second with Hamilton in third, but after the Grand Prix, there are only 30 points between the two.

With this missed opportunity, Horner continued saying that Perez needed to go back to basics to get back on form. The Team Principal said:

“I think you just need to sometimes sort of take your foot off, put it on the floor, stop the merry-go-round and just go back to basics.

“And that’s what we’ll do. We all know what Checo is capable of and we want to support him to get back into a position where even as near ago as Monza, he was finishing in second place to Max.”

There are five rounds left of the season, with Perez’s home race being at the end of the month. Verstappen has won the Drivers’ Championship but the fight is now on for second.

Headline image: GettyImages

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