It heralded the beginning of an annus horribilis for Perez, who started combating the automobile from the subsequent spherical in Barcelona and missed Q3 beautiful 5 occasions in a row – qualifying simply ninth within the Hungarian race that broke that streak – an unacceptable calamity within the subject’s dominant automobile.
When requested by Autosport in a restricted roundtable interview why Perez waited till after Qatar to take motion and demand a brainstorming session, he replied: “As a result of Qatar was actually the worst weekend I keep in mind shortly, in all probability my worst weekend ever within the sport.
Photograph by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
Sergio Perez, Pink Bull Racing RB19, Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C43
“It was such a foul weekend that I actually felt like: ‘I can’t be this unhealthy, there’s one thing that is happening’.
“When you’ve got these back-to-back races, I really feel like typically there may be not sufficient time to essentially undergo all of it. So, I felt like we actually needed to take a little bit of time to guarantee that we understood which manner we had been going.
“Clearly, we had a deficit throughout the automobile set-up that we had been taking part in round [with] weekend by weekend and we had been simply not in a position to progress by it.
“However as soon as we managed to get on prime of that, we understood quite a lot of issues that we had been attempting to compensate for. And that simply principally meant that we weren’t simply not doing issues proper.
“I believe that has been actually, actually good on our aspect. I imply, it was unhealthy that it occurred however in a manner, it was actually good as a result of it actually strengthened our group quite a bit.”
Perez “not the kind of man to complete my profession like that”
Amid hypothesis on his future, Perez mentioned he by no means thought-about stepping away regardless of a hunch that he now admits had sapped all enjoyment out of his job.
“No, clearly, that might have been the best route as a result of it was very powerful at occasions,” mentioned the 33-year-old firmly. “However I am not the kind of man that at this stage of my profession shall be giving up and be prepared to complete my profession like that. It isn’t one thing that I ever thought-about doing.
Photograph by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images
Sergio Perez, Pink Bull Racing
“I am conscious of the duty I’ve and I am not the form of man that can blame folks round me for the outcomes. On the finish of the day I took duty for it and I needed to flip across the scenario quite a bit.”
On discuss his alternative by Ricciardo or others, he mentioned: “To be trustworthy, I used to be not likely pondering of it as a driver. I used to be extra centered on ensuring I might benefit from the weekends and be capable to have that.
“I used to be having some weekends that had been so troublesome that they weren’t enjoyable. I am right here as a result of I nonetheless love what I am doing and I am right here as a result of I nonetheless have quite a lot of enjoyable, quite a lot of enjoyment. And that was my predominant focus, that we actually want issues to show them round.
“I had some actually troublesome occasions in a couple of months, let’s put it that manner. I went from preventing from the championship to being in a troublesome boat, and never having that confidence with the automobile.
“However the finish of the day, if you wish to be at Pink Bull, I am conscious of how robust mentally it’s important to be to be right here. And it is one thing that I received stronger at. You study a lot from the unhealthy days, rather more than from the great days.”
Perez’s preventing spirit was on show in Mexico, the place an audacious outdoors transfer to take the lead into Flip 1 led to tears. When requested if that transfer summed up his angle concerning the season as soon as his championship bid had petered out, he replied:
“Yeah, principally. I actually felt like I had an actual possibility going first into Flip 1 if I made it stick. Sadly, it did not work out however it might have been a large consequence.
Photograph by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, Sergio Perez, Pink Bull Racing RB19, make contact firstly inflicting the Mexican to crash out
“If I am preventing for the championship, I believe you can’t be that aggressive, however when you’re preventing for second, then it is a completely different story.”
Taking only one podium within the closing third of the season, in Las Vegas, and ending on half the factors tally of Verstappen, Perez is conscious he nonetheless wants to search out extra over the low season, however he feels the way in which he managed to regular the ship after Qatar was encouraging for 2024.
“I all the time say folks will solely keep in mind the place you end in Abu Dhabi, however I am conscious of the yr I had,” he mirrored.
“I believe I’ve realized lots and I am proud of how we managed to show our season round.
“We actually got here out of it stronger than earlier than and made good use of these unhealthy days.”