Marko Praises 'Significantly Better' Perez After Chinese Grand Prix

Thursday, 25 April 2024 at 20:15
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Helmut Marko (Red Bull's motorsport advisor) discussed Sergio Perez's performance after the first five race weekends of the season.
After achieving P3 in both the Sprint and Grand Prix races at Shanghai International Circuit, Sergio Perez leaves China in second place in the Drivers' Championship, 25 points behind his teammate in P1 and nine points ahead of Charles Leclerc in P3.
He couldn't bring home a one-two result due to the unfortunate timing of the safety car. Perez drove a very decent race and yet again showed improvement in qualifying. Marko wrote in his column for

"What I'm also happy about: Sergio Perez has been showing better performance in this first part of the season than he did a year ago. 'Checo' no longer goes into the races with the goal of having to beat Max at all costs."

The Mexican driver had a fantastic start to the season last year, but his performances then took a high tip, and many pundits ascribed it to his approach, focusing too much on Max Verstappen. Marko continued:

"By that, I mean that in 2023 he almost despaired over finding his own way to set up the car if the speed wasn't right. So he tried to catch up to Max through technical means with a different setup. He's given that up."

"Perez is now following a setup approach that's more in line with Verstappen's. As a result, he's losing less time and is significantly better in qualifying than in 2023."

The 80-year-old also suggested Checo could have been second had it not been for the unluckiest timing of the safety car. Perez's whole strategy had to change, and he lost two places as a result.

"There's also little to criticize in the races: without the unfortunate timing of the Safety Car phases, he likely would have come second in China."

"But when he gets stuck in traffic, he can't fully utilize his skills as a tire whisperer. Instead, he has to work his way forward, and that usually puts more wear on the tires."