After a strong start to F1 2023, winning two of the opening four rounds, Perez’s form nosedived as he failed to make it into Q3 in five consecutive races.

During the same period, Verstappen remained unbeaten, ultimately taking 10 consecutive victories.

In an interview with Dutch publication De Limburger, Perez opened up about his struggles and how he hired a mental coach to help him on and off track.

“When the season started, the car suited me perfectly,” he said. “But cars evolve during the season. 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.

“But I didn’t give up and kept working hard with the engineers to sort things out. 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 admitted that his poor on-track performances were impacting his family life, hence the need to look for help externally.

“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 added.

“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.”