Sergio Pérez scored the second victory of his career with Red Bull at the Monaco Grand Prix in the month of Major to place himself just 15 points behind his almighty teammate, defending champion Max Verstappen, but his fortunes have since changed radically.
While the Dutchman has won four of the last six rounds since the test in the Principality, the Mexican has only reaped two second places, in addition to retirements in Canada and Austria. This has caused the difference between the couple from Milton Keynes to grow to 85 points, leaving Pérez with almost no chance of fighting one-on-one with the Dutchman.
Those were not the only withdrawals of the year, as in the opening round he was left out of the race in the last laps in Bahrain: “It is still a very long season, but what has killed me in the first half of the year has been my dropouts.”
“Without them my championship would be very different to what it is now,” he said ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix, where he again fell behind Verstappen. “So yeah, it’s been that, but overall there’s a lot of positives to take away from that half of the year.”
Sergio Pérez sat out the Sakhir event due to a fuel pump problem, before a gearbox mishap caused him to retire in Canada in mid-June. At the Red Bull Ring it was a contact with George Russell on the first lap that precipitated his retirement, despite the Briton receiving a five-second penalty.
Although the retirements have damaged the Guadalajara driver’s hopes, he believes he has made a step forward from 2021 and the difficult to control RB16B . Checo’s performances made him renew with Red Bull until the end of 2024, which shows the confidence they have in him.
When asked by Motorsport.com how he would rate his year until the summer break, the Mexican thought he was well placed: “I think it’s been a very good first half of the season, very complete, with good races, results and consistency.”
“I think everything is there, and the championship is open,” he said, before assuring that he must continue in that form. “We have to keep pushing, Ferrari have been a bit quicker than us in the last few races so we have to do that, anything can happen.”
Red Bull will face the second part of the course with a gap of 97 points compared to its rivals from Maranello, but Pérez warned that they should not rest on their laurels: “I think that, after our return, we will see where everything is, in three or four races. Hopefully, by then, I’ll be able to close the gap.”