Red Bull admit they need to get below-par Sergio Perez “back into the mix”

"We need to get him more into the mix.”

Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing with Xavi Martos (ESP) Red Bull Racing F1 Team Physio on the grid. Formula 1 World
Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing with Xavi Martos (ESP) Red Bull Racing…

Red Bull backed Sergio Perez after a drab F1 Spanish Grand Prix but are desperate to get him back into form.

Perez qualified eighth and finished the race in the same position, as teammate Max Verstappen won again.

It means Perez - who has recently been rewarded with a new contract which should have ended doubt about his future - remains without a podium finish for a fifth grand prix in a row.

“We put him on a three-stop,” team principal Christian Horner told Sky Sports. “It worked out.

“He passed Pierre Gasly on the last lap. He will have taken confidence from that race.

“Theoretically we said eighth was the best that he could do today. He achieved that.

“He will have taken a bit out of this weekend but we need to get him more into the mix.”

Perez reacted: “I think the main problem was the starting position.

“I overtook Fernando but got overtaken by Nico.

“It was a really, really difficult first stint which compromised the race.

“It was difficult to follow in the dirty air.”

Perez has fallen behind the in-form McLarens and Ferraris, and even the resurgent Mercedes drivers.

Questioned about Red Bull’s increasing competition, he said: “They are back. Really strong.

“We must deliver perfect weekends for the team.

“McLaren look, at the moment, like the strongest team.

“We must make sure we come back, at different tracks, to be more competitive.”

Perez knows what he wants from inside the garage to get back into the form he displayed at the start of the season, which prompted Red Bull to hand him a new contract.

“There are upgrades in the pipeline,” he said. “The same as everyone.

“But I think most important is to maximise the balance, more than any upgrade.

“It has been really difficult on my side, at the moment.”

Perez is fifth in the F1 standings after 10 rounds, behind Verstappen, Norris then both Ferrari drivers.

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