Sergio Perez hasn’t been on the podium for eight rounds – and the Red Bull driver is targeting a top three finish in Turkey, as he takes the wheel of a new-look Red Bull RB16B and seeks an end to his drought.
Perez managed to take P2 in the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix for Racing Point, and followed that up with his maiden Formula 1 victory in Sakhir, before being called up to Red Bull. This season he won the Azerbaijan GP and took a podium in the next round at Circuit Paul Ricard, in France, but hasn’t managed to finish better than P5 in the last six rounds.
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Ahead of the 2021 Turkish GP, he said: “I am very confident in this car, I think lately we have been showing good signs of pace, but I am conscious we must put it together to get the car where it deserves on the grid and then back into scoring those big points, to get us where we want to be in the championship, come the end of the season.
“I am looking forward to the last seven races now and I am sure our luck will turn. We are performing well on track, but now we must show that with our results on a Sunday. I want to be back on the podium this weekend,” he added.
‘One more lap and the tyre would have exploded!’ – Sergio Pérez crosses the line P2 in Turkey
Perez added that he’s done some “intense” preparation after Russia, where he scored a P9 finish: “Yes, we did a lot of work after Russia to analyse what went wrong and what went right and where we can look to improve. I have spent some more time on the sim ahead of Turkey too, so we have done some pretty intense homework for this weekend.”
As for team mate Max Verstappen – who’s just two points off Lewis Hamilton in the championship – the Dutchman is eyeing something far greater than the P6 finish he took in Turkey last year.
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“Last year’s Turkish GP was of course not the best weekend for us as a team, but I think it will be quite different circumstances this year – hopefully the tarmac will be a bit more grippy,” he said. “I think it will be quite a new weekend in general for everyone, there will be a lot to learn so I’m looking forward to seeing how competitive we are there.”
Red Bull are now 33 points behind Mercedes in the constructors’ championship fight, but with the Silver Arrows mulling over a decision on whether to give Hamilton a new engine this weekend, that gap could well shrink in Turkey.