Sergio Perez has opened up on the tremendous struggle he has encountered to get on top of Red Bull’s 2023 Formula 1 car.

Perez has failed to triumph since winning two of the opening four races, dropping a huge 230 points behind Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen, who has taken 15 victories.

The Mexican’s troubles have been compounded by failing to progress to Q3 in qualifying eight times, leaving him with too much ground to recover come race day.

Following a disastrous outing in Qatar, Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner issued that the team would need to “sit down” with Perez to get his season back on track.

Expanding on that weekend, Perez conceded that he got “really lost” on the set-up side, which has been a recurring theme that has prevented him from stemming his slump.

“Basically it was important for us to understand where it went so wrong,” he addressed last Thursday ahead of the United States Grand Prix race weekend.

“And once you go into these fast weekends, for example with the Sprint event in Qatar, if you don’t have a good set-up, you can easily get lost. And it’s what happened to us. We just got really lost in Qatar.  But this is how this sport is: you have a good weekend, a bad weekend. We haven’t really been able to get consistency through the year.”

Prior to the US GP, where Perez revealed he had made “good progress”, the Red Bull driver had only accumulated five points across the previous three race weekends.

The 33-year-old attributed the large deficit that existed to Verstappen in Japan and Qatar to prioritising the wrong set-up direction on his side of the Red Bull garage.

“Basically, the last two weekends [Japan and Qatar] have been extraordinary in a way in that we arrived at the circuit, we were not comfortable and we took directions that made it even worse,” he explained.

Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing RB19. 21.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 19, United States Grand Prix, Austin, Texas, USA, Sprint Day.

Perez has also reiterated his admission from earlier in the year that Red Bull’s title-winning 2023 challenger has been developed away from his preferred driving style.

I think there is some development in it, and I think there is also some tuning on it that we’ve been doing that means it is not coming so natural as it came before,” he added.

Asked what he requires to gain a natural affinity with the RB19 again, Perez replied: “I think it’s mainly the corner entry, the grip that I need to be a little bit different.”

Despite his fluctuating form putting him at risk of losing second in the standings, Horner has denied that Perez’s seat will be dependent on his final placing.

With the chasing pack progressively closing the gap, Horner was also adamant that the team’s focus remained on ensuring Perez returned to his previous level.

“Definitely, we cannot have this sort of gap,” Perez acknowledged. “I think, basically, to go back to the first six races or so and we were fighting with Max. That’s the target, to get back to that level of comfort with the car.

“My issues have been real and we’ve been struggling with the car a bit and hopefully next year can be a different story, but also these next five races.”

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