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Sergio Perez

Perez selects highlight of 'challenging' year as Red Bull target achieved

The Mexican returned to the podium for the first time since the Italian Grand Prix in Las Vegas - ensuring he fulfilled Red Bull's long-time ambition.

Perez Las Vegas
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

Sergio Perez has reflected on his "challenging" year after securing second place in the Drivers' Championship - saying he is "proud" of turning around his slump in form.

Perez's form nosedived after the Miami Grand Prix, with a trudge around Europe costing him the chance to fight Max Verstappen for the title following his two wins from the first four races.

The Mexican was put under pressure by Red Bull to deliver second place in the standings, something the team had never achieved in F1, with Lewis Hamilton the challenger that could deny him.

However, Perez entered the Las Vegas Grand Prix 32 points ahead of Hamilton, knowing that if he out-scored the Mercedes by six points, he would secure P2.

As it happened, Perez finished third after being passed by Charles Leclerc on the final lap for second, but the 15 points were enough as Hamilton could only haul six for a seventh-place finish, with Perez relieved to have secure the position.

Perez's challenging year

"It just makes me look back at the whole season, it's been really challenging year," Perez explained to media including RacingNews365.

"It started really well, fighting for the championship, but then, I think in Barcelona, we had such a dominant car, but I just couldn't set it up properly. It was just getting out of my hands, the confidence was going down.

"To manage to come back and really put together a strong [end to the] year, to be able to constantly be fighting at the top, that really is the highlight of my year."

As for his race, Perez felt his bigger rear-wing choice cost him as he tried to break away from Leclerc after regaining the lead.

"It is a bit of mixed feelings, because if you just look at the full picture, I think it's quite tough," he said.

"The first target for me was just not to get any damage [on Lap 1], because I knew how low grip the conditions were going to be, and I ended-up getting that damage, unfortunately.

"From that point on, it was all about recovering, trying to get Lewis first because he was the target to seal second in the Championship, and the pace on that Hard was tremendous and that really brought me back into the race.

"I was just overtaking cars every lap and we were really, really strong, and once the Safety Car came out, that really put us in contention for the victory.

"In the initial laps [after the restart], I went through Charles, relatively easy but then I just couldn't pull away from him, and unfortunately, we were just had a little too much rear wing on my car, and my top speed was quite a bit down. I was clipping as well.

"Once I was on the lead, I just couldn't pull away from Charles, and then we had Max also in the picture."

F1 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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