Sergio Perez believes it’s too “early” to claim that Red Bull won’t be caught before the Formula 1 regulations are changed in 2026.
After winning 10 of the remaining 11 races last year, Red Bull has won all 13 races to be held this season with an evolution of its 2022 championship-winning RB18 car.
Amid the Austrian outfit surpassing the previous record for the most consecutive wins in F1 history, Charles Leclerc conceded he fears nobody will catch Red Bull during the remaining years of this rules cycle.
However, Perez has downplayed the Ferrari driver’s comments, pointing to McLaren’s mid-season resurgence from backmarker to podium contender as evidence of the sort of gains a team can make.
When Leclerc’s quotes were put to him on Friday ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix, Perez said: “I think it’s quite early to say, you know, when you see the sort of jumps that teams like McLaren do from where they were in the beginning of the season to where they are now. It only takes another team to make such an improvement, so I wouldn’t think that, and we’re not thinking like that.
“We’re [Red Bull] really working hard, we’re really trying to improve race-by-race in all the different areas.”
Red Bull’s attempt to become the first side to go an entire F1 season unbeaten has been kept afloat by the efforts of Max Verstappen, who notched a record-equalling ninth straight victory at Zandvoort on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Perez’s struggles since winning two of the opening four rounds of the year continued at Zandvoort, with a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane relegating him from third to fourth.
The Mexican was absent from the podium for the fifth time in the past nine rounds – a run that has dropped him out of title contention and left him to look over his shoulder at the chasing pack.
Perez, who retains a 33-point lead over Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, says Verstappen’s winning run has offered him extra motivation as he bids to end his own victory drought.
“Yeah, certainly, it hasn’t been easy for me because I know the car potential, Max has been exploiting that but when you don’t really have that feeling that you know that your car has massive potential it’s not an easy situation to be in as a driver,” he assessed.
“But certainly we have a great race car, and we just have to make sure that we utilise it, because you never know when you’re going to have a car as good as this one.”
The six-time F1 race winner has also dismissed that he is determined to prove his critics wrong, asserting that he only fixates on performing to his own standards.
“Obviously you always wanna prove yourself, it’s a gain to yourself,” he noted. “I don’t really, to be honest, read what people have to say about myself or my career or whatever.
“I know what I’m capable of, I’ve done it before… and not that long ago, it was only a few months ago, but people when they’re not here it’s very easy for them to speak out. It’s something very understandable, it how sports work, but as an athlete it’s important to be able to disconnect from that and do what is best for you.”