Sergio Perez believes he’s operating at the level Red Bull needs him to and that a return to the podium is just a matter of time.
The Mexican came under pressure after a number of disappointing results enabled Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton to close in for second place in the drivers’ championship standings. But after meetings at Red Bull’s headquarters ahead of the United States Grand Prix, Perez delivered improved performances in Mexico and Brazil despite having no trophies to show for it.
“I think the pace has been here for the past few weekends, but for one reason or another we haven’t been able to put it together,” Perez said. “I think it’s just a matter of time before it will come, but it (Sao Paulo) was a good weekend for the championship, because we’re getting closer to that second place. I believe it’s just a matter of time before we show what we’ve got.
“I think after Qatar, when I went back to the factory, we understood a lot of things that we were doing wrong. Austin, it was just we compromised the weekend a bit, but since then, Mexico was quite good — I mean, I went off but I was very close to the lead — so, all in all, we’re making good progress.”
Team principal Christian Horner agreed Perez showed the performance level that was expected of him in Brazil even though he lost out to Fernando Alonso in a thrilling late-race battle for third place.
“I think it was important for his confidence,” Horner said. “That was the Checo that we know what he’s capable of, and that will give him just the boost he needs going to another street track — that he’s always performed well on — in Vegas, and then Abu Dhabi one week after.
“I thought he drove brilliantly well (in Brazil). He had a little bit of a wobble at Turn 2 that allowed Fernando to have a little bit of a go at him. He did his best to hang on to it, but for Checo to outscore Lewis by 12 points has been a very strong weekend for him. Third (in the sprint), fourth from ninth on the grid due to the yellow flag he got in qualifying has been very good points for him.”