DNFs have ‘killed’ my F1 season so far
Perez took his second win for Red Bull at the Monaco Grand Prix in May to move within 15 points of his team-mate Max Verstappen at the top of the Championship, only for their fortunes to go in different directions ever since.
While Verstappen has won four of the six races since Monaco, Perez has only two second places to earn in the same period, as well as retirements in Canada and Austria.
This pushed the gap between the two Red Bull drivers to 85 points heading into the final nine races, leaving Perez to ruin the DNFs. He also didn’t see the checkered flag in the season opener in Bahrain.
“It’s still a very long season,” Perez said ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix.
“What really killed my first half of the season were the DNFs, to be honest. Without those DNFs, my league would be very different from what it is now.
“So yes. But overall I think there are a lot of positives to take from this half-season.”
Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing, returns to the garage after crashing on restart
Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport pictures
Perez was sidelined in Bahrain with a fuel pump problem before a gearbox-related problem caused him to retire to Canada in mid-June. In Austria, a clash with george russell on the first lap eventually forced Perez out of the race, with Russell receiving a time penalty for causing the collision.
Although the DNFs hurt Perez’s championship hopes, he nevertheless appeared to take a step forward in 2022 with the Red Bull car after struggling to master the temperamental RB16B car until 2021.
The Mexican’s fine performances prompted Red Bull to give him a new two-year contract leading to him until the end of 2024, signed shortly before his victory in Monaco.
Asked by Motorsport.com how he would rate his season so far compared to previous campaigns, Perez thought it was “pretty high up there”.
“I think it’s been a very good first half of the season, very complete, with good races, good results, of course good consistency,” Perez said.
“I think it’s there, and it’s all open to the championship.”
Red Bull will enter the second half of the season 97 points ahead of Ferrari in the constructors’ standings, but Perez warned not to be complacent because “everything is still very open”.
“We have to keep pushing,” Perez said.
“Ferrari has been a bit faster than us in the last two races, so we have to keep pushing. Anything can happen.
“I think after our return the season will start very quickly, so we will see after three or four races after the summer break where everything is.
“Hopefully by then I will have been able to close the gap.”