Sergio Perez has an explanation for dropping off Max Verstappen

Sergio Perez was able to match and even beat Max Verstappen towards the start of the 2023 Formula 1 season.

Sergio Perez believes his deficit to Max Verstappen has been caused by taking longer to adapt to upgrades to the RB19, whereas the reigning World Champion has preferred the newer parts.

Perez was very competitive in the opening rounds of the season and was able to match Verstappen, with both Red Bull drivers having won two of the first four races of 2023.

Many labelled the Mexican as a title contender as a result; however, he’s been anything but.

Since Verstappen’s recovery from ninth to first at the Miami Grand Prix, the two-time World Champion has been unstoppable, in fact, the last time he was defeated was actually in Azerbaijan.

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Verstappen has seemingly been able to extract more pace out of the car than Perez, something Checo puts down to the RB19’s balance.

The 33-year-old is convinced that the Dutchman’s huge advantage is due to having found a breakthrough in the set-up, something Perez thinks was discovered in Azerbaijan.

“Yeah, it’s certainly something to do with his balance, to do with how he’s driving the car and looking after the tyres,” Perez told media including

“Something that he found, and he’s been operating in that balance-wise, and he was able to cope with it already in Baku.”

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It was a similar story in the opening rounds of 2022, where Perez started as the stronger driver but weakened as the team introduced upgrades.

Some have suggested that Red Bull have developed the car around Verstappen, something which has been quashed by Perez and the team.

Instead, Perez simply thinks Verstappen has adapted to the upgrades quicker than he has, with the Mexican having needed to change his driving style more than the 25-year-old.

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“Every driver through their career or through each season, you get some upgrades to the car that adapt easier to your driving style than others,” said Perez.

“Sometimes you will put a part in it and you will go faster straight away, [but] sometimes you will have to adapt to it.

“I haven’t been able to adapt as quickly as I should and I had to change my driving style a bit to adapt into the car more than in the beginning of the season, when things were coming more naturally. But that’s something that most drivers at some point we go through.”