Sergio Perez has echoed Max Verstappen in admitting Red Bull have a mountain to climb in order to beat Ferrari this season.
The Italian team has got off to a lightning start, with Charles Leclerc winning two of the three races so far and finishing second in the other. Carlos Sainz has also played his part, securing back-to-back podiums in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia but crashing out of the race in Australia.
Verstappen won the race in Jeddah by impressively overtaking and beating Leclerc to the chequered flag, but engine and fuel issues forced him to retire from both other races. Perez was also affected in Bahrain, but has scored good points in the two Grands Prix since.
But Red Bull are already 49 points adrift of Ferrari in the constructors' championship, and are even 10 points behind Mercedes who have struggled for pace in their cars in these early weeks of the campaign. The situation has led to Perez suggesting that the team has a lot of work to do if it wants to fight for the title.
"It's certainly a concern," the Mexican said. "We've lost a lot of points already in these first three races that in the end can make a huge difference in the championship. So, we are obviously aware of it.
"All the team back home in Milton Keynes are working flat out to try to come up with solutions. I'm sure we will turn things around and hopefully we can start again from zero when we go back to Europe."
He went on to say that, after appearing to be about level in terms of performance for the first two races, the Italian team took an extra step in Melbourne. "I think Ferrari were super strong. We couldn't match them at any point," he added. "I think it's the first weekend that they are a step ahead. In the race, they were on another level.
"I think we also were a bit too poor with our balance. We took a bit of the wrong directions with the car. So, I think there is good analysis to be done. We run the two cars a bit different. So, I think there is a good analysis to do. I'm sure we will learn a lot from this weekend because… yeah, we seem to be a bit harder on the tyres than Ferrari."
His words echoed those of defending champion Verstappen, who told reporters after the race at Albert Park: "Being already so far down in the championship, I think it's 46 points, from now on we need to be ahead. And we need to be reliable, which we are also not. So there's a lot of things to work on."
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