Sergio Perez braced for Red Bull sacking next month

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez grappled with balance issues in Qatar, leaving him lining up in P13 for the Sprint.

Sergio Perez experienced a challenging qualifying session during the Qatar Grand Prix, marking his eighth failure to make it through to Q3 this season. 

The Mexican driver encountered a setback when his lap time was deleted for exceeding track limits at Turn 5 in the closing moments of Q2, pushing him outside the top ten and relegating him to a 13th-place start on the grid for Sunday’s race. 

However, it’s worth noting that this penalty does not affect his starting position for the Sprint race.

Perez’s task is now clear: he must realistically secure a victory in the Sprint race on Saturday to thwart his teammate Max Verstappen’s quest for a third World Championship title. 

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Verstappen requires only a sixth-place finish to clinch the championship.

Reflecting on his challenging qualifying session, Perez shared his perspective with F1 TV, stating, “It was quite difficult, we struggled a lot for balance. 

“Basically, we had so many issues, every corner was pretty much different. 

“I think the conditions are very difficult overall, but I just struggled a lot.”

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Despite the difficulties, Perez maintains hope that he can contribute to Red Bull’s success and keep the championship battle alive while also protecting his second-place standing in the Drivers’ Championship. 

He acknowledged the challenges ahead, saying, “It’s not over. 

“It’s obviously going to be very difficult to pass, especially with the track conditions that we currently have. 

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“But we’ll see what we are able to do and recover from there.”

Perez’s challenging start in the Sprint race comes amid questions about his future, with Liam Lawson, Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda all ready to take his seat.

While signed in to his contract until 2025, Red Bull is famously ruthless with underperforming drivers, willingly sacking drivers mid-season if they underperform.

As such, it is difficult to imagine how Perez will still be a Red Bull driver in 2024.