Sergio Perez takes fire at critics as he outlines targets in Red Bull warning

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez has set his sights on victories after the summer break while slamming fans who have called him out for his performances during the first half of the campaign in a strong statement of intent to Christian Horner and the rest of the team.

These comments come as strong fighting talk from Perez, who is largely believed to have been backed into a second-driver role within the Red Bull setup after multiple suggestions from both Horner and Helmut Marko that he doesn’t have it in him to consistently fight Max Verstappen for victories. 

The Mexican driver currently trails his team-mate by a whopping 125 points after the Dutchman recorded eight successive Grand Prix victories off the back of Perez’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix win.

Checo’s form throughout those first four races of the season was impressive with many pundits and fans speculating that the experienced Mexican could take the fight to Verstappen across the season in 2023. Unfortunately for Perez, the opposite proved to be true.

Despite his poor run of form heading into the break, Perez remains optimistic. When asked about his targets for the second half of the campaign by Nextgen-Auto, he simply replied: “Victories!”

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The 33-year-old was adamant that he is not happy to simply make up the numbers at Red Bull. “I’m not here to finish 2nd,” he continued. “I’d rather be at home doing something else if that’s all I was aiming for. I’m here because I know I can do it and I’ve done it before.

“People who comment from their sofa forget how much we are into the little details. You’ve seen it with other drivers in their teams, it’s happened for Daniel (Ricciardo) too. He came back to us and the team was able to give him the right tools.”

The Mexican driver will be desperate to pose some level of threat to Verstappen’s dominance from the Dutch Grand Prix onwards as he looks to spark some hope of an extension to the contract that will keep him with Red Bull until the end of the 2024 season. 

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Both Horner and Marko have regularly reiterated their support for the 33-year-old, claiming there is no immediate threat to his place within the team, but if McLaren, Mercedes and Ferrari make up some ground in the development race, that could change.

Verstappen’s 314-point tally would currently be enough to see Red Bull top the constructor standings on his own, so by staying out of controversy and continuing to improve his patchy qualifying record, Perez should be able to keep his seat for another season at least.

However, with Yuki Tsunoda impressing for AlphaTauri and Ricciardo taking steps to bolster his chances of a full-time return to the team, Checo will need to prove he’s capable of regular race wins if he plans to stay with Red Bull long-term.

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