"He was on another planet" - Sergio Perez settles for second behind superlative Max Verstappen at 2022 F1 Belgian GP

F1 Grand Prix of Belgium
Red Bull drivers Sergio Perez (left) and Max Verstappen (right) celebrate on the podium at the 2022 F1 Belgian GP.(Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Sergio Perez had no qualms with finishing in P2 behind his Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen who stormed to victory in the 2022 F1 Belgian GP.

The Mexican started the race in P2 after a host of grid penalties were applied following Saturday's qualifying session. Sergio Perez was slow off the line and dropped down to P5 on the opening lap. He was able to get back up the field following Lewis Hamilton's incident with Fernando Alonso after the Kemmel straight.

The 32-year-old had a straightforward race after that and was able to get past Ferrari's Carlos Sainz with relative ease. Red Bull's immaculate precision during pit stops also aided his cause.

In his parc-ferme interview with former F1 driver Martin Brundle after the race, Sergio Perez admitted that Max Verstappen was untouchable today and deserved the win. Checo said:

“I really hoped for more, you know. Today, it was a good opportunity but Max [Verstappen] was just flying, he was on another planet and was untouchable.

Perez was also critical of his own driving after admitting to excessive tire degradation in the first stint. He said:

“Especially the first stint was quite poor in terms of degradation but it is a strong result for the team. I think we managed to get a lot of points today which is important looking forward.

When asked about navigating through the opening lap carnage at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Perez said:

“It was a bit of chaos on lap one and I had a really poor start and lost key positions but managed to get them all back into Turn 5. It was very hectic that, lap one and a lot of contact.

Sergio Perez elaborates on the 'biggest difference' between him and Max Verstappen

Sergio Perez has underlined the difference in his driving style and that of his Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen this season.

The Mexican's sophomore campaign with Red Bull started off strong with a pole in Jeddah and four podium finishes, including his momentous win in Monaco in the first seven rounds. His win in the Principality was followed by the Austrian team extending his contract until the end of 2024.

It has not been smooth sailing, however, for the 32-year-old since. Perez was once 15 points behind Verstappen and on the precipice of mounting a title challenge. Despite his P2 finish at the 2022 F1 Belgian GP, Sergio Perez is now 93 points behind his teammate in the World Drivers' Championship standings.

Many feel this drop in performance could be down to the RB18 being more suited to Max Verstappen's unique driving style, but Sergio Perez has admitted that he feels right at home. Speaking in an interview with RacingNews365, he said:

“I think being in my second year with the team, and the change of regulations, it definitely helped me. It was a good improvement. I think I’m more comfortable in the car this season.”

Perez revealed that Verstappen likes the car set up to have more oversteer and a sharper feel overall. He said:

“Sometimes we come very close; on some weekends we are extremely close, and on some others we are not so close. Seeing the way we apply the throttle and the way we brake is the biggest difference between us. [But beyond that] I find it very difficult to compare what’s the difference between drivers in terms of driving styles, because every time it’s different.”

Perez will be hoping to eat into Verstappen's advantage next week when they travel to Zandvoort for the Dutchman's home race. As things stand, Checo is P2 in the World Drivers' Championship standings with 191 points.

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Edited by Anmol Gandhi
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