Sergio Perez says his focus for the remainder of the 2023 Formula 1 season is on consolidating second place in the Drivers’ Championship.
The Mexican had clawed himself to within three points of team-mate Max Verstappen following his second victory in four races in Azerbaijan at the start of the year.
However, since his triumph in Baku, Verstappen has won the proceeding six races, whilst Perez has only scooped two podiums in that time to drop a colossal 99 points behind the Dutchman.
Perez’s recent struggles to pick up considerable points have derived from a failure to progress into Q3 in qualifying at the previous five events, leaving him with too much ground to recover come Sunday.
However, Perez is aiming to get back on track in Hungary and preserve the 19-point advantage he holds over Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, who is a further 16 points clear of Lewis Hamilton for Mercedes.
“In Formula 1, only your position in Abu Dhabi matters,” Perez told Spanish outlet AS.
“But I am not second in the World Championship by a miracle, I have won races. I’ve had some bad races, but we have everything ahead of us.
“Target now? Undoubtedly the runner-up in the championship. But I’m only thinking about the Hungarian GP.”
Despite Red Bull romping to the Constructors’ title last season, Perez was unable to finish directly behind Verstappen in the Drivers’ standings as he was pipped by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc at the final round.
Nevertheless, the Mexican still classified third to achieve the highest placing of his protracted F1 career and subsequently booked his place at the annual FIA awards gala at the end of the year.
With Red Bull upholding a commanding margin at the front of the F1 field in 2023, Perez will be expected to retain his current grasp on second spot through to Abu Dhabi.
While the Austrian camp has won multiple F1 championships since it took over the Jaguar team in 2005, Red Bull has never had both its drivers occupy the top two positions.
Mark Webber was only ever able to finish as high as third when he partnered four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel between 2009-13, while Perez ended up fourth in his debut Red Bull campaign in 2021.