Sergio Perez hints at tough times ahead for Red Bull

Closer competition means that Red Bull could struggle to replicate its stellar 2023 season

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Whilst Red Bull might have comfortably taken victory, and a 1-2, at the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix, Sergio Perez believes that Red Bull are in a trickier position this season than it faced last season.

The 2023 Formula 1 campaign saw the Milton Keynes outfit enjoy an unchallenged run to the Constructors Championship, with the team winning all but one race. But with the progress made by rival teams over the off-season, Perez believes the competition will be much tighter in 2024. 

“I think everything is really, really close,” Perez told press ahead of the 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. “I think Ferrari should have been on pole in Bahrain.”

Perez suggested that the results of the race in Bahrain, which saw Max Verstappen and Red Bull enjoy a significant pace advantage over the rest of the grid, were not fully representative of the close nature of the competition this year. 

Bahrain GP 2024 winner Max Verstappen of Red Bull celebrates | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Bahrain GP 2024 winner Max Verstappen of Red Bull celebrates | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

“When you look at the race pace, Bahrain is a track that, when you start fighting, the race looks very different,” said the Mexican. “But we can see that Ferrari is super close to us, as well as Mercedes and McLaren.

“I think it’s gonna be very dependent on track to track. Everything is really close.”

Ferrari vs Red Bull?

Although the field was spread out during the race at the Bahrain International Circuit, qualifying for the Grand Prix was a much closer affair.

Sergio Perez of Red Bull leads Charles Leclerc of Ferrari during the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Sergio Perez of Red Bull leads Charles Leclerc of Ferrari during the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Verstappen took pole ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by only two-tenths. However, attention should be paid to Leclerc‘s Q2 lap, which was quicker than Verstappen‘s pole-winning lap time, suggesting that Ferrari could well bring the fight to Red Bull.

Qualifying pace aside, Ferrari‘s race pace was no match for that of the Red Bulls in Bahrain. Perez, who started from fifth on the grid, passed both Ferrari drivers during the race, coming across the line in P2.

Carlos Sainz ultimately rounded out the podium in third, three seconds behind Perez, whilst Leclerc finished fourth after encountering braking issues throughout the race.

Jasmine Hughes
Jasmine Hughes
Experienced in digital content creation, Jasmine Hughes has written for a number of online publications, joining Total Motorsports in 2024. She previously served as FormulaNerds' Formula E Editor, leading coverage of the 2023 Formula E season. Jasmine has been watching Formula 1 since the age of 4, after falling in love with Fernando Alonso's blue-yellow Renault R25.
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