Speaking to Dutch publicationDe Limburger, Perez, who sits 177 points behind Verstappen, asserts that his troubles emanated from the RB19 being developed away from his preferred driving style.
“When the season started, the car suited me perfectly. But cars evolve during the season,” he said.
“After Miami, things went downhill. I had a different car that didn’t suit me so well. Then I failed to get into Q3 several times, so my confidence dropped. As a result, the driving went a lot less as well.
“I struggled a lot in the summer. In the beginning, I was competing for the world title but, from May onwards, that changed. I was driving without confidence. At one point I just didn’t come out [of Q2]. That was very tough. Because you drive with a top team, the pressure to perform increases quickly.”
Perez said that work with his engineers behind the scenes has helped him rebuild his dented confidence, inspiring him to believe a renewed title tilt is possible next year.
“But I didn’t give up and kept working hard with the engineers to sort things out,” he continued. “My self-confidence came back when I realised that I won races under my own steam earlier this year.
“I dare say I am 100 per cent again now. And I also have the conviction again that I can have a shot at the world title next year.”
Perez also explained that his deteriorating form on the race track was beginning to negatively impact his home life, resulting in him deciding to hire a mental coach.
“When you are having such a hard time with your work, it is difficult to be cheerful at home with your wife and children,” he explained.
“So I hired a mental coach because my family deserves to have that cheerful father at home. Together with my coach, I worked on becoming the best version of myself at home, but also as a driver.
“As a result, I found positivity again. I am now 33 years old, but I am still learning every day. On the track, but certainly also off it. Partly because of this, I will never get tired of Formula 1. It’s really amazing what this sport still gives me.”