Sergio Perez buoyed by early F1 form: 'Japan proved how confident I feel'

Sergio Perez is feeling confident ahead of this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix.

Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing, in the post race FIA Press Conference. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4, Japanese
Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing, in the post race FIA Press Conference…

Sergio Perez believes his performance at the Japanese Grand Prix highlights “how confident” he feels with this year’s Red Bull F1 car.

Perez enjoyed a strong weekend at Suzuka, qualifying within a tenth of Max Verstappen.

He backed it up with a solid race drive to finish second for the third time in four races.

It was an important weekend for Perez, who endured a miserable race in Japan at the back end of last year.

With Daniel Ricciardo’s form underwhelming, Perez is widely regarded as the favourite to secure another year with Red Bull.

Looking ahead to this weekend in China, Perez is excited about the challenge of driving in Shanghai for the first time as a Red Bull driver.

“It’s exciting to be heading back to China again, it feels like a long, long time since we were last here,” Perez said. “I’ve never driven a Red Bull around this circuit so that’ll be good fun.

“This is a challenging circuit but I think we’ve shown we have a car to compete in most places with the RB20. Japan really proved to me how confident I feel with this car and the performance I can extract from it, in places I struggled last season. I’ve been back in Milton Keynes this week, working hard with my Team to prepare for the next few weeks of racing.

“Preparation is very important when you have a Sprint weekend, as we get so little practice time in the car.

“The new format will be tricky for everyone to get their head around but we are all in the same position, my aim is to get as close to maximum points as I can across the weekend.”

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB20. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4, Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, Japan, Race
Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB20. Formula 1 World Championship,…

Shanghai is one of the few circuits on the F1 calendar Verstappen has failed to win at during his career.

With the return of the sprint format, Verstappen expects it to be challenging.

“It was great to bring home the win in Suzuka and it has been good to spend some more time in Japan with family and friends,” he added. “We are looking forward to China as it is going to present a challenge ahead of us, especially with it being a Sprint weekend. As we have not raced at this track since 2019, and with the one practice session, it will be all about ensuring we have set the car up in the best way we can and managing our tyres.

“This added element creates more excitement for the fans, which is good, and the Team has been working hard to prepare. It is a great racing track in China and has a unique layout, with trickier corners and the long straights presenting lots of opportunities for overtaking.

“I have always loved driving at this circuit so we look forward to seeing what this weekend brings.”

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