Sergio Perez says his recent run of bad form was exaggerated by the Formula 1 media before his victory in Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix.
Perez led from start to finish in a wet-to-dry race in Singapore, claiming his second win of the season after winning in Monaco earlier in the year.
Perez’s Monaco win came amid a strong start to 2022, but as the season has gone on, Red Bull’s development of the RB18 has moved away from the Mexican’s liking.
It has culminated in Perez facing a large deficit to team-mate Max Verstappen, and while Verstappen went to Singapore on a run of five straight wins, Perez had just one podium finish in the same period.
But as Verstappen endured a difficult race that saw him equal his lowest finish of the year in P7, Perez put together an almost flawless performance which he felt was an answer to his critics.
“This win is really special for me, because I’ve had a bit of a rough patch in the last few races,” said Perez, as quoted by The Race.
“The media in Formula 1 makes it a lot bigger, maybe because I’m just Mexican. And if I’m not two races in a row in the podium, then I’m having the worst season ever and Red Bull should drop me and all that sort of stuff that you get to see.
“It’s just nice to get that win. It’s not a reminder to anyone of how good I am. But it’s just always good to be able to put together this sort of performance.”
Perez would later call his victory as his best performance in F1, and when asked to elaborate on why this was his best drive, Perez said: “How intense it was. To keep Charles [Leclerc] behind, especially after the restart, when the warm-up was super hard and basically half the track was on the dry side but the other half was good enough for inters and we were on the slick.
“So [it was difficult] not to make a mistake, and control Charles, who was really strong in the early phases. But then the pace I had in the last few laps was really strong.”
The victory sees Perez move to within two points of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in the battle for the runner-up spot in the drivers’ championship, with Leclerc finishing behind Perez in Singapore after losing out to him at the start.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner asserted Perez’s drive in Singapore was a sign he is beginning to regain confidence in the car and isn’t just circuit specific.
“Checo has always been phenomenal on street circuits, he seems to like slippery street tracks,” said Horner.
“And we’ve been working hard with him on set-ups and so on. Hopefully this will now give him confidence for the remainder of the championship.”