Perez: My strength comes on Sunday


Confident that his experience will reap dividends for both himself and Red Bull this season, Sergio Perez believes he can take the fight to Mercedes... and his teammate.

Much like Jenson Button at the end of his championship winning year, as the 2020 season wound down it looked like Sergio Perez, who was close to wrapping up the best of the rest title behind the Mercedes pair and Max Verstappen, was going to be missing from the following year's grid.

However, while McLaren came to the rescue of Button, Red Bull opted to look outside its own young driver programme and recruit the experienced Mexican.

Though there is no doubt that Verstappen, like Sebastian Vettel before him, is Red Bull's 'chosen one', the Austrian team is expecting Perez to give the Dutchman a serious run for his money as the pair take on the might of Mercedes.

While admitting that he still needs to hone his qualifying performance, Perez is confident that his experience will pay off, particularly on race day.

Asked how big a weapon his experience would be in the battle against Verstappen, Perez was in no doubt.

"I think it is quite a big one, to be honest," he replied.

"You're here, and when things don't go well, pressure hits you hard," he continued. "And when you are experienced, when you've been through it before, it just makes you focus on the right stuff.

"Technically you develop a lot of skills as well throughout your career too," he added. "I just think I'm in a great point. The opportunity comes at a great point of my career and yep... it's going to work out well.

"I'm confident in my abilities," he insisted. "I think it's a matter of time before I get on top of everything, but I don't see why with time, and once I am on top of all the things that I need to know before on the car, I cannot be at that level.

"I think Max, from what I've seen, is going to be very strong in qualifying," he admitted. "So he will be a massive benchmark in qualifying. My strength comes on Sunday, with race craft and race pace. So I think that's a pretty good match that hopefully delivers the maximum from the car."

While teams and drivers prefer not to be drawn on targets for the coming season, the Mexican was a little more forthcoming.

"To over-deliver on the car performance," he said. "If we have a car good enough to win the championship, to make sure I win it. If we have got a car that is good for second, then make sure to win. To over-deliver the car potential."

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Published: 26/02/2021
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