Pérez Calls on Ocon to Defend Subpar Performance

Once again, the performance gap between the two Red Bull Racing drivers was stark during Friday afternoon’s sessions at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. Max Verstappen secured pole position for Saturday’s Sprint by outpacing Lando Norris. In contrast, Sergio Pérez finished seventh, trailing his teammate by a significant 1.3 seconds—an immense margin.

Following the qualifying session, Pérez directed criticism towards Esteban Ocon, attributing his own disappointing performance to traffic caused by Ocon: “I believe we had the pace today. Unfortunately, I encountered Esteban driving very slowly on track, which compromised my final lap by half a second. This situation severely hindered my ability to perform well, resulting in a gap that doesn’t accurately reflect my usual performance compared to Max in previous sessions.”

Despite the setback, Pérez maintains optimism heading into the Sprint race: “I remain confident that tomorrow will yield better results. Today’s outcome was influenced by factors beyond our control. We didn’t achieve the positions we aimed for, but I’m optimistic about our prospects for tomorrow.”

Throughout Friday’s sessions, Pérez consistently trailed Verstappen during both SQ1 and SQ2 in Austria. Despite the focus on improvement, Pérez ended up 0.566s and 0.426s behind his teammate in these sessions, highlighting a persistent gap that persisted throughout qualifying.

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