F1's Sergio Perez, displaced at Red Bull, says he still has a lot to achieve

MILTON KEYNES, England — Sergio Perez took a pounding as Max Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate last season but the Mexican has used the winter break to reset and recharge for another 24 rounds against the dominant world champion.

Verstappen won a record 19 of 22 races last year on his way to a third successive Formula One title while Perez started strongly with two wins from the first four races before suffering a sudden slump.

The 34-year-old finished second overall but struggled to get on the podium as Verstappen reeled off an unprecedented 10 successive wins.

Former Ferrari racer Eddie Irvine once said driving in the same team as Michael Schumacher was like being hit over the head with a cricket bat every two weeks but Perez said his situation was less painful.

“It’s not as bad,” he told reporters at the launch of the team’s new car for what will be the longest ever season starting in Bahrain on March 2.

“Obviously, people are aware of the challenge that I’m facing and it is right. I think it’s a massive challenge, Max is a driver that really takes the maximum out of you so it’s a great challenge and one I’m looking forward to massively.

“It’s my fourth season with the team and I’m sure it’s going to be the best one.”

Perez is out of contract at the end of the season, with plenty of candidates to replace him including Australian Daniel Ricciardo at sister team Visa Cash App RB and seats available elsewhere.

The Mexican said he was not finished yet.

“If we are performing well on track, there will be plenty of opportunities out there. So that’s my main target and my main motivation for this year to really perform well,” he said.

“I still think that I’m at my best, I still have a lot to give, being part of the Red Bull family for four years. It’s a massive bonus. It’s a great opportunity.

“I’m still young, and still motivated. So there’s still a long way ahead.” 

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