Sergio Perez believes that he can beat Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen to the World Championship in 2024 should his team provide title-winning machinery for the third consecutive season.
These are lofty claims from Perez, who started the 2023 season in immense form before tailing off dramatically after a disappointing outing in Miami. The Mexican won two of the opening four races of the year, announcing himself as a title contender straight out of the blocks.
Unfortunately for Checo, his title charge didn’t last long. Verstappen responded to the 33-year-old’s wins in Jeddah and Baku by flexing his muscles and dominating the European leg of the season, making F1 history by winning ten consecutive Grands Prix between Miami and Monza.
Speaking to Dutch news outlet De Limburger about his thoughts, Perez said: “I struggled a lot in the summer. In the beginning, I was competing for the world title, but from May onwards that changed.
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“I was riding without confidence. At one point I just didn’t come out. That was very tough. Because you ride with a top team, the pressure to perform increases quickly. But I didn’t give up and kept working hard with the engineers to sort things out.
“My self-confidence came back when I realised that I won races under my own steam earlier this year. I dare say I am 100 per cent again now. And I also have the conviction again that I can have a shot at the world title next year.”
If Checo is to deliver on his predictions and battle his team-mate for the World Championship in 2024, then he will need to build some positive momentum before the season comes to a close in Abu Dhabi.
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A strong performance at Monza sparked hopes that Perez was finding his feet again, but a Q2 exit in Singapore was followed up by a dismal showing at Suzuka on Sunday, during which the Mexican racer picked up two five-second penalties and made contact with both Lewis Hamilton and Kevin Magnussen.
With just six rounds of the season remaining, the Guadalajara-born driver is a mammoth 177 points behind his team-mate, who will wrap up his third world title if Checo fails to take maximum points from his trip to the Losail Circuit.
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