Ex-McLaren employee warns Sergio Perez will be sacked after a few more races

Sergio Perez has been left behind in the 2023 title race, as Max Verstappen builds up an impressive lead.

Marc Priestley, a former McLaren mechanic, has raised concerns about Sergio Perez’s ability to finish the season with Red Bull following his recent struggles. 

Perez faced a forgettable weekend in Barcelona, starting the race in 11th place after a disappointing qualifying session. Despite a strong recovery to finish in fourth, a podium finish eluded him as George Russell held onto third place.

While Perez’s comeback would be seen as impressive by most standards, the dominant performance of the RB19 and Max Verstappen’s commanding drive have heightened expectations for Perez to deliver more. 

Priestley suggests that Perez’s difficulties could be attributed to a lack of confidence and even questions whether he will complete the entire season with Red Bull.

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Speaking on BBC’s Chequered Flag podcast, Priestley commented on Perez’s qualifying mistakes and subsequent struggles in the midfield. 

He also mentioned the contrasting narrative just a few races ago, where Perez was considered a championship contender. 

Now, doubts have emerged about his right to occupy the seat and whether he can sustain his position until the end of the season.

“In qualifying, he made some mistakes,” Priestley said. 

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“He messed up and that really set him up for the race where he started further back than he would have wanted to.

“Then it’s a struggle in the middle of the pack – he tried to do some different things on strategy and we know how quick the car is because we saw it in the hands of Verstappen.

“With Perez, I don’t know if he’s lost confidence over recent weeks – there was talk of a championship fight just literally two races ago. Now people are even questioning his right to be in that car. Can he even make it to the end of the season?”

In defence of Perez, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner expressed confidence in the Mexican driver, assuring that he will soon rediscover the form he exhibited earlier in the season. 

Horner acknowledged that Perez may have pushed himself too hard to match Verstappen but emphasised his belief in Perez’s capabilities, citing standout performances in races like Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia.

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“We know what Checo is capable of, we’ve seen in races like Azerbaijan and Saudi already this year what he’s capable of doing, and I’m sure he’ll re-find that form in the future,” Horner said.

As the season progresses, Perez’s performances will be under increased scrutiny. 

The pressure to deliver consistent results alongside Verstappen’s dominance will undoubtedly test his resilience and confidence.