- The 2023 Qatar Grand Prix left Red Bull driver Sergio Perez with questions
- He says that he had moments where he told himself that he isn’t that bad of a driver
- Perez was the only competitor to come close to Max Verstappen early in the 2023 championship
The 2023 Qatar Grand Prix left Red Bull driver Sergio Perez with questions about how good of an F1 driver he is.
He says that he had moments where he told himself that he isn’t that bad of a driver after his lowest moment this season in Qatar after finishing in the P10.
Although Perez was the only competitor to come close to Max Verstappen early in the 2023 championship, his campaign collapsed after a qualifying dip that shattered his self-confidence and that of the RB19.
He appeared to recover in Hungary, partly with the assistance of a sports psychologist, before experiencing another setback. He retired early in Japan following a collision with Lewis Hamilton.
Sergio Perez Qatara Grand Prix Disaster
Perez had to start the race from the pits after a crash in the sprint in Qatar even though he was driving an RB19 that Verstappen drove and ultimately won.
He finally finished in 10th place and this was a moment of reflection for him. The Red Bull driver still feels that the Qatar Grand Prix is the worst so far in his racing career.
“Because Qatar was really the worst weekend I remember in a while, probably my worst weekend ever in the sport,” he told Motorsport.com. “It was such a bad weekend that I really felt like: ‘I cannot be this bad, there’s something that’s going on.”
Perez believes that having back-to-back races doesn’t allow enough time for a thorough assessment of car performance and development. He reiterates that it is important to take time to fully understand the direction the team needs to take.
The team initially struggled with car setup issues, but overcoming them led to valuable insights and a stronger overall team.
The persistent speculation that Perez’s time at Red Bull was running out did not help the 33-year-old Mexican driver as he struggled with his form.
All F1 drivers including Daniel Ricciardo, Charles Leclerc, and Lando Norris, were rumoured to be in talks with Christian Horner about taking his place even though they all had contracts for the upcoming season.
Additionally, it was reported before the Mexican Grand Prix that the driver would make his retirement announcement on Sunday night.
Nevertheless, Perez, who is determined to stay in his race seat and will continue as a Red Bull driver for the 2024 start, did not say anything.
He says that a lot of people expected him to walk away from Red Bull but he is not a quitter.
“I’m not the type of guy that at this stage of my career will be giving up and be willing to finish my career like that. It’s not something that I ever considered doing.
“I’m aware of the responsibility I have and I’m not the sort of guy that will blame people around me for the results. At the end of the day I took responsibility for it and I had to turn around the situation quite a lot,” Perez stated.
Perez expressed that his primary focus was not on being a driver but rather enjoying his true calling which is being a Formula One driver.
It is this love for racing that has kept him on the circuit amid too much pressure from fans for him to make a move.
Sergio Perez Hires Sports Psychologist
The fact that Red Bull driver Perez hired a mental coach to help him cope with the highs and lows of Formula One racing reveals how stressful the sport can be.
The Mexican driver won the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and the Saudi Grand Prix, respectively, over teammate Verstappen.
As a result, he won two of the first four races of the 2023 campaign. These accomplishments increased the bar for an inter-team championship match and increased his level of pressure.
Regretfully, Perez’s tenure as a title challenger was short-lived. A poor showing in Miami allowed Verstappen, to pull off an amazing ten-race winning streak that effectively decided the title before the summer break.