Sergio Perez concedes that Red Bull “still don’t understand fully what went wrong” with its car during the Singapore Grand Prix weekend.
Red Bull’s 15-race unbeaten run, dating back to last season, and its hopes of becoming the first Formula 1 team to go an entire campaign unbeaten ended last Sunday.
The Austrian outfit’s all-conquering RB19 creation failed to hit the same heights as previous rounds, with both Perez and Max Verstappen eliminated in Q2 in qualifying.
Perez – who eventually recovered to eighth, three places behind his team-mate – believes the Suzuka circuit should represent one of Red Bull’s best-performing tracks.
“Well, that’s definitely the target [to be back at the top],” he said. “We still don’t understand fully what went wrong, or what went so wrong in Singapore.
“We have some ideas, but certainly this track is very different. So, there should not be a reason why not to be strong in Suzuka. Actually, they should be one of the best circuits for us.”
Despite echoing Verstappen’s comments that Red Bull hasn’t yet got a full grasp on its problems, Perez suggests that Red Bull entered the weekend with the wrong set-up.
“Yeah, we obviously have some good ideas on how we prepared the weekend and the misinformation we have, and where things got wrong,” he added.
“But obviously, it’s something that we will keep internally, but there’s some good indications that we probably approach the weekend with the wrong set-up.”
Sergio Perez (MEX), Red Bull Racing 17.09.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 16, Singapore Grand Prix, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Race Day.
Verstappen expressed on Sunday evening that the RB19 had performed much better on high-fuel across the race than it had during the low-fuel runs in practice and qualifying.
Perez has again supported his team-mate’s stance but argues the side continued to lack the necessary competitiveness of its rivals who contended for the victory.
“Once you are in the traffic, you’re driven by traffic in Singapore, it’s impossible to know,” he explained regarding Red Bull’s race pace. “And obviously taking the tyres to the maximum life, being obviously on the different strategy to everyone else, to the optimum strategy, you never know.
“But the balance was feeling… I think we were more competitive in the race than we were in qualifying certainly – but still, we were not that competitive.”
Having hinted that Red Bull approached the previous weekend on the back foot, the Mexican is optimistic that the reigning champions will hit the ground running again during Friday practice in Japan.
Asked how the car felt around Suzuka on the simulator, Perez responded: “Yeah, it felt good. And it feels bad in Singapore already. So hopefully, it aligns well, and it can be a good a good track for us.”
Red Bull will retain the Constructors’ Championship on Sunday, providing it outscores Mercedes and avoids being outscored by Ferrari by 24 points or more.
Perez conveys that it would be “very special” to secure the crown in Japan, home to the team’s engine manufacturer, Honda.
“You know, they’ve [Honda] been working extremely hard on the engine side as well. So, it will be nice to get it done this weekend,” the 33-year-old continued.
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