Sergio Perez admits lack of trust with Red Bull team after being “caught out” by Verstappen contract clause

Despite winning two of the opening four 2023 Grand Prix races, Sergio Perez will now be punished for falling 125 points behind Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen

Sergio Perez has revealed he has trust issues with Red Bull after his recent on-track struggles. The Mexican driver, 33, has won two of the opening four races this season, taking the trophies at Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan.

It was hoped from the initial wins that fans would be given a World Championship title competition, after Max Verstappen claimed two years of consecutive wins. Perez has since fallen away in the championship race after failing to reach Q3 in qualifying for five consecutive races.

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The downfall of the Mexican driver began in Monaco at the end of May, after Perez crashed out in qualifying, which saw the secret bottom of the car revealed to the rest of the grid. However, the driver managed to save himself slightly in Belgium two weekends ago after he came second behind Verstappen.

Perez now sits a mammoth 125 behind the Dutch driver, 25, with the battle for the World Championship seemingly over. It has since been revealed that Perez’s contract at Red Bull has a “surprise clause” which could reportedly cost him “millions”.

Dutch news site De Telegraaf have claimed the clause was inserted into Perez’s contract which reportedly required the driver to stay within 125 points of his teammate at all times. It’s been suggested that if Perez falls below that number, then team bosses at Red Bull reserve the right to adjust his salary.

Sergio Perez reportedly earns a basic salary of just under £8 million-per-year at Red Bull and has claimed that he knows he needs to improve his performances. Perez said: “It’s in my hands, that’s why I am focussed on myself - I am the first one.

“I am a winner. I don’t like to have bad weekends. It’s not what I am here for. I would rather be at home doing something else. I’m here because I know that I can do it. I’ve done it before and people just on the sofa forget how we have [little breathing space]. I’ve had a rough patch, it’s true but I also had a great start to the season.

“So you’re just balancing out, looking at those races, what works, and looking at those bad races what didn’t and just make sure that we make progress weekend after weekend.”

Sergio Perez is being punished for falling significantly behind teammate Max VerstappenSergio Perez is being punished for falling significantly behind teammate Max Verstappen
Sergio Perez is being punished for falling significantly behind teammate Max Verstappen | Getty Images

Addressing the media, Perez has admitted to being caught off-guard by the changes being made to the RB14 vehicles, which has affected him since the Monaco crash. Perez was asked if he was guilty of “overdriving”, where he said: “I think what happened in Monaco probably brought me a step back and has taken me some time to fully trust the car the way I was [driving] it.

“Then you add the external factor with changeable conditions and then there is a bit more discrepancy.” before adding: “There is a deficit that I’ve been experiencing with the car in the last few races.

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“Whenever there is a change of condition, it tends to get wider this ‘limit’, ;let’s put it that way. That has been something that has caught us out.”

The news of Perez’s contract comes as speculation mounts over the Mexican’s future at Red Bull. The stark difference between the driver and his teammate has become more apparent, after he has been unable to challenge Verstappen for the world title.

It has led to heavy speculation that the driver will be swapped with AlphaTauri Daniel Ricciardo, who recently joined the Red Bull junior team after Nyck de Vries was axed from the team.

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