What's Going On With Sergio Perez And Can He Rescue His Form In Hungary?

Perez has been woeful on Saturdays for the past two months
16:00, 21 Jul 2023

16th. 4th. 6th. 3rd. 6th. 

For most drivers on the grid this set of results would represent something of a purple patch, consistently challenging the podium positions. However, when you are Sergio Perez, driving the supersonic RB19 that has catapulted Max Verstappen to six wins in a row and eight wins out of ten so far, it’s an absolute horror show. And in free practise one in Hungary he crashed within five minutes as the nightmare continues. 

Checo has been one of the most popular drivers on the circuit for several years, and the Mexican played a pivotal role in delivering Verstappen his very first world title. But since that point he has very much played second fiddle at Red Bull, and the questions over his position in the team haven’t gone away. 


Speculation about his future has only increased since Red Bull’s reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo was chosen to replace rookie Nyck de Vries at sister team AlphaTauri. Many believe this is simply a ploy to line the Australian up for a sensational return to Red Bull, as a teammate for world champion Verstappen. However, Perez’s current contract runs until the end of 2024, and unless Christian Horner truly wants to stir the pot after this season, that represents a long wait for 34-year-old Ricciardo. 

Perez’s main issues over the last two months have started in qualifying. He’s dropped out in either Q1 or Q2 in each of the last five weekends, and despite decent Sunday showings, it hasn’t been enough for him to get the Red Bull back to where it belongs. There’s absolutely no doubt that Horner’s team should be celebrating one-twos every single weekend, and the fact they aren’t points to a serious problem. 

After Miami, Perez was only 14 points behind Verstappen in the driver’s standings. Fans were even discussing the Mexican as a potential world champion and looking forward to an epic battle between the teammates. Now that figure stands at 99, which signifies just how drastic Perez’s drop off has been. 

“Yeah, that would be quite a bit nicer, so that will be the target,” Perez responded when asked if he needed a stronger qualifying sessions. “Hopefully make sure we are able to clear up those Saturdays and just delivering a strong Saturday will be important for us.”

Perez wins in Monaco
Perez wins in Monaco

Importantly for Red Bull, with the rest of the pack catching up, they will unleash some new developments at the Hungaroring this weekend. “We’ll see,” Checo said when asked if the developments will suit him. “Hopefully we are able to make a good step in terms of competitiveness and that we are able to have stronger Saturdays. We’ve seen that the grid is closing up, closer and closer.”

Meanwhile, after more public backing from team boss Horner, Perez is feeling strong.

“I know I have the full support of my team and, at the end of the day, I know what I have to do and what I have to deliver. I mean, I’m second in the championship for a reason.

“I think I’ve had a great start to the season, but I had a bit of a rough patch; that’s no different to any other driver on the grid. We have all had difficult periods of times, but that’s it.”

Checo needs a return to form and it has to start now. Hungary and the tweaks to the Red Bull should provide the perfect platform for him to deliver, and hopefully a solid qualifying session can put him on the pathway to success. Another failure will have the vultures circling once more. 

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