Red Bull’s Sergio Perez is relatively satisfied with the first half of his 2022 season, but would like to improve upon his recent results.
The last rounds of upgrades have proven problematic for the Mexican, who has been off the pace of team-mate Max Verstappen since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, where he out-qualified the Dutchman for the third time this season.
The car does not seem to suit him quite as well as it did at the start of the year, evidenced by his qualifying performance at the Hungarian Grand Prix last weekend.
The 32-year-old qualified 11th on the grid after failing to put a clean lap together in Q2, at the of which he was held up by Kevin Magnussen.
Verstappen would start the race 10th due to the power unit struggles he faced in qualifying, forcing the team to change both drivers’ engines ahead of the race.
Perez made progress on Sunday, passing Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo at the start, before following Verstappen through past the Alpines of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon.
He found his way past Lando Norris, and looked set to finish sixth before a horrible blunder on strategy by Ferrari put Charles Leclerc behind him.
On fresh Mediums towards the end, the three-time race winner was closing on Carlos Sainz and George Russell for the final podium spot, but a late Virtual Safety Car put pay to his pursuit.
“I think in the middle of the race, we were looking good, we were thinking to go for the one-stop, so therefore I think we didn’t quite maximise that stint and unfortunately,” explained Perez in the media pen after the race.
“That didn’t work out as good as we would have liked, and then at the end, I just lost out by a couple of seconds on Carlos and George.
“We were much faster, together with Charles from behind, but unfortunately there was a Virtual Safety Car for a bit too long and that just hurt us a bit.”
Perez has been on the podium six times this year, finishing in the points 10 times and winning the Monaco Grand Prix.
It has not been a bad first 13 races of the season at all for the man sitting third in the Drivers’ Standings, but he has more pace to find in Spa at the end of August.
“A bit up and down, a couple of reliability issues, but other than that I think that there are some positives to take from this first half of this season,” said Perez.
“But I certainly believe that we’ve lost a bit our track in the last couple of races, so it will be very important to come back strong for the triple header.”
Verstappen went on to win the race in Budapest, extending his championship lead over Leclerc to 80 points.
He and Perez have helped Red Bull to a 97-point advantage over Ferrari.