Perez details key to stepping out of Verstappen’s shadow

Sergio Perez is hoping he won't be blinded by Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen this season

Sergio Perez is hoping he won’t be blinded by Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen this season

Sergio Perez has detailed one key aspect he feels is crucial if he is to prove himself more than just a wing-man to Max Verstappen throughout the new F1 season.

The statistics from last year do not lie – Verstappen enjoyed 15 grand prix victories en route to his second successive Formula 1 title, whilst Perez had just two, leading to a 149-point gap between the Red Bull team-mates at the end of the 22-race season.

Yet cast your mind back to the Monaco Grand Prix, and after just seven races and Perez’s victory around the streets of the Principality, the Mexican driver was just 15 points behind Verstappen.

At that stage, Perez was being talked about as a serious championship contender, only for the wheels to then fall off his challenge, until a late-season highlight with victory in the changing wet-to-dry conditions in Singapore.

Perez talked about “small margins” making the difference between his mixed performances when he could challenge Verstappen one weekend but then be trailing significantly the next.

Perez highlights combination factor

It is understood a car setup change played a significant role last year with regard to the slump, with Perez hoping any lingering issues have now been dialled out of the RB19, the livery of which was unveiled in New York earlier this month.

Asked by as to what would make the difference this season, he replied: “It’s mainly about consistency.

“If you think back to last year, I was able to match him [Verstappen] at the beginning of the season but then I had a very rough period of time during the middle.

“So that will be the most important aspect of my season, to be able to find that consistency level.”

As to achieving that consistency, suggested to Perez it had to come from both himself and the car, he added: “It’s a combination of the two basically – engineers and driver combination.

“It’s about being able to put things in the right direction, to put the car in the right direction, and to make sure we are able to work consistently through it and be able to take the maximum out of it.”

Perez needs solid weekend platform from Red Bull

Perez has also called on Red Bull to ensure he has a solid platform from which to work going into a grand prix weekend, indicating that was not the case on a number of occasions last season.

“In a few races, we took the wrong direction with the setup, so we had a rough period of races that really put me out of contention,” assessed the 33-year-old.

“So it’s important to basically have that base from the off to be able to challenge for wins very much every single weekend.”

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