What’s going wrong for Sergio Perez? Charles Leclerc is ahead of him, perhaps in a car that doesn’t seem that booming in raw pace as the Red Bull. Valtteri Bottas, despite recently clinching a fiftieth career podium is also ahead of him, even as the Finn may agree that the 2021 season hasn’t seen him make a flashy start. Want more? Even young, inexperienced but daring Lando Norris is ahead on the Driver Standings. It makes little sense to go where Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton are at the moment, the duo is separated by fourteen points with “The Hammer” attacking the #1 spot. But where’s Sergio Perez in all of this?
Sergio Perez Is in the Exact Same Car as Verstappen!
Remember he’s been armed with exactly the same machine that his more experienced Red Bull teammate Verstappen is piloting. Surely, the driver who at one stage in 2020 (with Vettel moving to Racing Point’s newly branded version of Aston Martin and nearly stealing the Mexican’s seat) found himself in harm’s way and found eventually a new lease on life as Red Bull signed him.
However, the plan of action was to deliver from the word go. And here we are at the completion of four successful Grand Prix and Perez on P6 with just 32 points seems to be clearly lacking in form and flair.
There’s never a doubt about his capability to deliver. Along with Lance Stroll, he fired the Racing Point to a position of absolute midfield dominance in 2020. There was no stopping Perez, who even won his maiden Grand Prix without driving a car that was among a Mercedes, Red Bull, or McLaren.
Moreover, his recent excellent pass on Daniel Ricciardo toward the closing stages of the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, a race where he finished fifth, demonstrated the grit and capacity of a driver keen to battle the odds.
Sergio Perez Was in His Element in Spain
McLaren and Red Bull nearly matching one other’s corner pace, saw Perez execute a brilliant late lunge on the inside of none other than the man described as the “master of late-braking.”
From a race point of view, “The Honeybadger” may have come to dread Perez then, but purely as a hard grafter, he’d have surely loved the effort from outside the ring’s view.
Still, there’s hardly a narrow gap between where Sergio Perez, a man with 199 race entries, is at the moment and where Red Bull would quite like him to be.
They’d need him to tackle the threat of the other Mercedes if countering Lewis Hamilton means getting in harm’s way. Don’t you think?
And making no bones about the fact that Sergio Perez needs to pick himself up and show more fight, the Red Bull boss Christian Horner shared his piece of mind about the experienced F1 driver, “I think it’s coming together for him (Perez),” said Horner.
The Brit would, also at the same time, place faith in the abilities of the Mexican racer, affirming, “Obviously then he didn’t manage to make headway at a track (where it is) so difficult to pass, because we desperately need him to be in that gap, so that Mercedes doesn’t have the strategic options that they had.”
“I’m convinced that that will come for Checo as he finds more confidence and time in the car,” Horner would add.
So where it stands at the moment, are we seeing Sergio Perez losing confidence, finding the need to spend more race time inside that clinical performer Red Bull, or could it be that the mental challenge of drawing level with none other than Max Verstappen is getting to him?
The answers rest only with the driver who has shown in the past that he can excel even in difficult conditions, think of the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix and his mercurial P3!
Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images