Sergio Perez has admitted he has had to change his driving style after struggling with the Red Bull during the first half of 2023.
Following a dominant victory in April’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Perez’s form nosedived after falling to make Q3 five times as he lost further ground to teammate Max Verstappen in the championship race.
“Yeah, I feel like that,” said Perez when the media asked whether he could find his form. “But I’m not where I want to be yet. In the beginning of the season, things were coming a lot more naturally to me.
“I believe that we will only keep improving from now. It was quite important to finish [the first half of the season] strong, especially the last two races.
“As the car developed, I struggled a little bit more things were not coming naturally anymore. I had to [analyse] my driving style, adapt to it quite a bit and change it because the car has simply changed.”
Wanting to prove critics wrong
Despite picking up two podiums before the summer break, Perez was put under further pressure by the return of Daniel Ricciardo, who was drafted in at AlphaTauri to replace the underperforming Nyck de Vries.
Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf even claimed Perez’s annual salary would be cut if he fell more than 125 points behind Verstappen in the drivers’ standings.
However, shortly afterwards, Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko later quashed De Telegraaf’s rumour, stating to F1-Insider that there would be no salary cuts.
“You always want to prove yourself,” said Perez. “I haven’t really read what people say or have to say about myself or my career.
“I know what I’m capable of. I’ve done it before. But when people [are] not here, it’s very easy for them to speak out.
“It’s something that is very understandable. It’s how most sports work. But I think as an athlete, it’s important to disconnect from that and make sure that you do what is best for you.”