The Sergio Perez Dilemma

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez

The Canadian Grand Prix of 2023, a race that was ultimately utterly dominated by Max Verstappen was yet another gruelling battle for the avid Mexican driver in the other Red Bull. It would prove to be yet another disappointing result for Sergio Perez not only from a race result perspective, but even from the standpoint of the qualifying performance.

The qualifying for the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix turned out to be the third straight occasion where the Mexican driver, widely respected for his racing prowess at street circuits, would fail to make it to Q3. Not a result that any Red Bull fan would want. And certainly not the result that a driver, who’s still contesting for a world title- even if his grasp on the championship fight appears to be waning-would have ever wanted.

But all that Sergio Perez, a mighty fine driver, Max Verstappen’s teammate, a thrower of winning chances, the frequently erring one on the qualifying day, could manage was a P6 in the end.

Resultantly, this would be a drive that would just better the exceedingly bright and mightily appreciated Alex Albon in the Williams.

And with both Ferrari drivers- Leclerc and Sainz- finishing comfortably ahead of the Red Bull machine, it was another lost opportunity for the well liked Mexican.

The driver that emerged upon the completion of utterly challenging and physically exhausting 70 laps on June 18, 2023 was a driver desolate and one that may even have lost some hope where it comes to dominating the world championship.

Here’s what Perez exclaimed at the end of the contest:

The Safety Car basically took all the opportunity away, you know, because we were looking good, we raced on that Hard tyres and unfortunately didn’t pay it off. I’m very, very concerned about [not catching the Ferraris]. We just didn’t have the pace.

But were things always that way for a certain Sergio Perez, whose last podium, would you believe it, came in the first week of May?

Truth be told, they were anything but.

As a matter of fact, it helps to refresh one’s memory that at the completion of the first four rounds of the ongoing world championship, Max Verstappen was ahead of his teammate by only 9 points.

Sergio Perez, who had bagged two wins in the four opening races of the season was standing next to 79 points, with Verstappen ahead-but not by a massive distance- of 87 points.

That gap could still have been filled. But today, the reality is different; maybe Perez has made peace with the fact that it’s Verstappen, not him, who has been able to extract the most out of the blitzy Red Bull machine. Maybe, Perez believes that it’s one thing to contest with any other driver on the grid, but it’s something of a different, ballsy, backbreaking challenge to tussle with guys like Hamilton or Verstappen.

Or, maybe it’s nothing like that.

Truth could be that the pressure of getting to a possible maiden world championship is far more onerous than in defending one. And that contesting a Formula 1 Grand Prix for a win in the energy sapping environment is much harder than what one really thinks doing no better than opinion-forming from the cushy comfort of an aircon-driven cabin or on that swinging armchair expert sofa.

But nothing hurts more than being aware of the fact that what’s to come next is the Austrian Grand prix, where the driver who unquestionably has a tremendous record is Sergio Perez’s own teammate Max Verstappen.

What possibly can Perez, the king of streets, do to curtail the sound of music that Verstappen will likely be making from that winning Red Bull machine?

F1 Grand Prix Of Azerbaijan
BAKU, AZERBAIJAN – Sergio Perez is feeling the heat thanks to Verstappen’s great ongoing form (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202304300706 // Usage for editorial use only //
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