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Sergio Perez

Perez boosted by vote of confidence despite current form

F1 pundit and former Bridgestone engineer Kees van de Grint has defended Sergio Perez, claiming his poor form is not representative of him as a driver.

Perez Canada wet
Interview
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

Sergio Perez has been delivered a vote of confidence despite his challenging weekend at the Canadian Grand Prix raising eyebrows over his Red Bull contract extension.

Dutch F1 pundit and former Bridgestone engineer, Kees van de Grint, has provided the Mexican driver a boost in the arm, arguing that his low point in form is not representative of his ability in an exclusive interview with RacingNews365

Van de Grint, who worked closely with Ferrari during the Schumacher era, highlighted that with the field closing up in recent years, the margin for error is much smaller - something that has caught Perez out a number of times in the past two seasons. 

Since the start of 2023, the 34-year-old has failed to make it out of Q1 on five occasions, and he has been eliminated in Q2 a further seven times. Meaning, of the 31 grand prix qualifying sessions in that time, Perez has made Q3 at 19 races - just 61 percent of the time. 

For comparison, Max Verstappen has failed to reach Q3 twice, and has not been knocked out in Q1 over that stretch.

"It might be a bit of a dead giveaway, but it's clear that Perez is going through a valley at the moment, Van de Grint explained to RacingNews365 when discussing the six-time grand prix winner's recent struggles.

"First of all, it's very close. In the past, you were 16th because you were two seconds or even more too slow. But now we are talking about hundredths and tenths of a second. Perez is not doing well at the moment, that's clear, but that is also not a reflection of how he is as a driver. He can do better."

Horner will have weighed multiple factors in Perez extension

Perez has not reached Q3 since the Miami Grand Prix, and has not secured a podium finish since the round prior to that, in China. Despite that, Red Bull opted to give him a new two-year contract, in the form of a one-plus-one deal with a team option for 2026.

It is not the first time Perez has endured a difficult run, especially in qualifying, but with just four points from the previous three rounds, many have called his new Red Bull deal - and the timing of it - into question.

However, Van de Grint feels there are more considerations for Red Bull than purely Perez's on-track performance, contending that Christian Horner will have assessed multiple factors prior to making the decision.

"You can say a lot about team boss Christian Horner, but not that he doesn't have a view or doesn't know what he's doing," he said.

"Horner will have weighed a number of other behind-the-scenes factors besides Perez's driving ability, such as calmness in the team and the commercial background. 

"But he will not have made that choice if he thinks, 'this guy can't do anything'. This is bad luck and it gives food for thought, but Perez is not that bad."

Also interesting:

Max Verstappen hit back after an out-of-sorts Monaco GP, Sergio Perez floundered again - and into a controversial retirement. How much damage can Ferrari and McLaren inflict with Red Bull fighting with one hand tied behind its back, did the Milton Keynes-based team re-sign Perez too soon? After a thoroughly entertaining Canadian GP, host Nick Golding is joined by Ian Parkes and Samuel Coop to analyse all things.

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