Sergio Perez sets daring Red Bull target as defiant message sent to Helmut Marko

Sergio Perez has insisted that he is unlikely to feel any better if he records a second-place finish in the Drivers’ Championship this season unless he does so by recording a win before the season finale in Abu Dhabi.

The Mexican driver is coming under immense pressure heading into his home race in Mexico City this weekend. With an unprecedented 226 points separating him and Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen heading into the final four races, rumours are swirling regarding whether or not he will drive for the team in 2024.

Red Bull have never scored a one-two finish in the World Championship in the team’s history and team leaders Christian Horner and Helmut Marko have both stressed the importance of delivering this target in 2023. However, with 39 points to third-placed Lewis Hamilton and form with the seven-time world champion, this is far from guaranteed. 

Checo was asked whether or not he’ll feel like a P2 Drivers’ Championship finish will feel like progress from his 2022 campaign ahead of the Mexican GP, replying: “I really don’t know. I’ll tell you once I get this second-place trophy, but I don’t think it will make any difference.

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“If there is a difference, it will be in how I achieve that. I want to achieve it with more victories this year, by finishing the season strong, and having great momentum to go into the winter – still believing that I can be champion in the future, which is the ultimate target.”

While Perez isn’t giving up on his dream of eventually winning a World Championship, the 33-year-old did acknowledge that the gap between himself and Verstappen needs to be drastically reduced if he is to challenge the three-time world champion consistently at the front of the grid.

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“Yeah, we cannot have this sort of gap,” he admitted. “It is difficult, of course. It’s not ideal when you go through a difficult patch in your career. But I just love the challenge of getting back at it.

“The easiest thing would be to just walk out of it, but that’s not me, that’s not who I am, and I will not give up. I have zero doubts that I will be back to my best level, and that is my only target I have in mind.”

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