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Sergio Perez targets closing gap to Max Verstappen in Red Bull rivalry

Sergio Perez is honing his focus to narrow the performance divide with his Red Bull Racing teammate Max Verstappen, hoping to match the pace of the Dutchman.

Since joining Red Bull in 2021, Perez has grappled to keep pace with the three-time world champion Verstappen, prompting speculation about his future with the team after a lacklustre showing in 2023. 

However, the 2024 season has seen a promising start for Perez, securing two consecutive second-place finishes in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

When questioned about his strategy to measure up against Verstappen, Perez emphasized a self-centred approach. "Just maximizing myself in all the areas," he affirmed. "I think Max is a very complete driver...very rarely has weaknesses or makes mistakes."

Verstappen's unbroken winning streak faced a hiccup in Australia due to a right rear brake issue, thwarting his bid to equal his record of 10 consecutive wins from the previous season. Despite this setback, Perez acknowledged Verstappen's exceptional performance. "He's driving at a very high level," Perez remarked.

Reflecting on Verstappen's recent dominance in qualifying, Perez emphasized the importance of self-improvement. "Focusing on myself, obviously keeping an eye on what he's doing...it's just important to focus on myself and get the maximum out of myself," he asserted.

The upcoming F1 Japan Grand Prix, slated for the weekend of 5-7 April, marks the fourth race in the 2024 season. Scheduled at the Suzuka International Racing Course, the event promises high-octane action over 53 laps of the 5.807-kilometre circuit. 

As Perez continues his quest to narrow the gap to Verstappen, all eyes are set on the unfolding rivalry within the Red Bull team.

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