Sergio Perez has admitted he needs to raise his game for his second Red Bull season in 2022 after acknowledging “consistency” was an issue.
Just over 12 months has elapsed since the Mexican became a Red Bull driver, selected as a more experienced team-mate to Max Verstappen than his predecessors Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon.
For the most part, the decision worked, as recognised by Helmut Marko who would have been involved in the final say – especially as Verstappen ended up being crowned the 2021 Drivers’ World Champion.
But it was certainly a long way from being the perfect campaign for Perez who, like Gasly and Albon, struggled to get close to Verstappen’s qualifying pace and several times found himself having to produce recovery drives to salvage a good haul of points.
Hoy pido por todos los que están teniendo una Navidad difícil; mi deseo: ¡es mucha salud para todos! ¡Feliz Navidad! 🎄
I pray for all of those who are having a difficult time. I Wish you all good health and strength! #merrychristmas pic.twitter.com/A8u3Edd9Mi
— Sergio Pérez (@SChecoPerez) December 25, 2021
Asked to assess his season, Perez told Motorsport.com: “Very intense. It’s been extremely intensive. A lot of work has been done behind the scenes, a lot of pressure.
“When you are at Red Bull Racing the pressure is on and everyone is watching you, what you do, and you guys (the media) are obviously a lot harder to a Red Bull driver, which is very understandable.
“It hasn’t been easy, but it has brought me on to another level and having Max as a team-mate really pushes you to new levels.
“I’m enjoying it a lot at this point of my career. I’m very happy and that’s the most important.”
However, the 31-year-old also knows there is plenty of room for improvement, saying he “just lacked the consistency” he and Red Bull had required.
“When you are out of position and so on…I think the main thing I lacked was consistency to constantly be at 100% with the car,” said Perez.
“I have to raise my game for next year. And hopefully we are all able to go forward.”
Perez was also delighted for Verstappen – who had referred to his colleague as a “legend during the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for the way he had held up his title rival Lewis Hamilton – in becoming champion for the first time.
“Max has been a great team-mate since day one to me, the team have been fantastic to me and I was in a position to support my team-mate,” said Perez.
“It’s a shame at the end we didn’t get the Constructors’ but I think it was just a couple of points at the end, and some bad luck here and there. But I look forward to next year.”
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