Sergio Perez says “the luck is not with us at the moment” after he struggled for the third consecutive weekend at the Canadian Grand Prix.

Having only accrued 12 points across the previous two races to lose extensive ground to team-mate Max Verstappen in the championship race, Perez was aiming to rebound with a strong weekend in Montreal.

However, the Mexican struggled in the mixed conditions thrown up on Saturday and subsequently failed to reach Q3 for the third qualifying session in succession.

Perez, who eventually recovered to sixth, rued not having the pace for a better result as well as the unfortunate timing of the Safety Car hampering his one-stop strategy.

“I felt there was a little bit more, certainly, but we just didn’t have the pace today,” he summarised. “We did struggle.

“I think we got hurt massively with the Safety Car – that in came in the wrong moment for us. Luck is not with us at the moment, but it is how it is.”

While Verstappen strolled to another comfortable victory, Perez contends that his pace deficit was predominantly down to braking troubles in his RB19.

“Basically on the braking,” he said when asked about the main cause of his struggles.

“The ride hasn’t been great, so on the braking I think was the biggest thing – and it’s where we think we need to come on top of and make sure we are able to figure out what’s happening and come back strong.”

Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing RB19. 18.06.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 9, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, Race Day.

Although Perez was unable to definitively explain where his issues had originated, the Red Bull racer suspects that a slight set-up change negatively impacted his competitiveness at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

We did something with tyres, something with setup, a few bits we need to understand exactly.”

Canada marked the third round in a row where Perez was not a feature at the front, following on from torrid weekends for the 33-year-old in Monaco and Barcelona.

Despite only failing to score points in Monte Carlo out of those three races, Perez contends the previous two weekends have provided him with more cause for concern.

“It’s how it is, but I think it’s something mentally you have to be strong and I’m strong and I know I will overcome this difficult period of basically two races – because Monaco, yeah I did a mistake, it was a bad weekend, but I think without that we had the pace,” he reflected.

“But it’s a little bit more frustrating not having the pace.”

With Verstappen taking victory in every single race since Perez’s form hit a downward spiral, there is now a 69-point margin separating the Red Bull drivers.

Instead of gunning for a maiden title, Perez will be looking over his shoulder at Fernando Alonso, who has closed to within nine points of the second Red Bull after scoring his sixth podium finish of the year on Sunday.

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