Red Bull Racing‘s Sergio Perez has emerged as a serious contender for the 2021 Formula 1 world championship title after his victory in the recent Azerbaijan Grand Prix moved him to within six points of current leader Max Verstappen. Perez attributes his success in Baku to the work he did with his engineers over the winter in addressing tyre management issues. Pleased with the progress he has made, Perez believes there is still “more and more to come” in terms of becoming a more established Red Bull driver and extracting the maximum from the car.
Perez previously regarded tyre management as one of his strengths but needed to adapt the way he looked after the tyres to suit the Red Bull car concept, saying the team’s style is “very different” from what he was used to. He felt he had improved by the end of his first year with the team but struggled to look after the tyres properly after the regulation change. After gaining a better understanding of the Red Bull car, Perez now feels more like a Red Bull driver and is confident he can still improve.
Perez admitted it’s not easy being Verstappen‘s teammate and surviving in the team. He believes his mental strength is his biggest asset and chose to undertake a deep analysis of his driving over the winter to get himself back on track following a difficult 2020 season. He believed in himself but realised he had to fully understand the concept of the car and put the right tools in place to fight.
Perez stated that addressing his tyre management problems was one of his main focuses during the winter, saying that one of his weaknesses last year was his tyre management. During the winter, he sat down with his engineers and went through everything to understand the issues he was facing. By doing so, he said he has been “much better” this year. Additionally, he believes there is much more to come in that regard. “Once you are really established in a team, and you understand the concept of a car, you are able to extract the maximum,” said Perez.