Doornbos about a mental boost: ‘He just saw Verstappen make mistakes’

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Doornbos about a mental boost: 'He just saw Verstappen make mistakes'

Robert Doornbos and Rick Winkelman see that Carlos Sainz is increasingly sawing at Sergio Pérez’s chair legs. The Spaniard was once again the one who ended Max Verstappen’s winning streak, while Pérez could count on criticism after a poor performance.

In 2023, Pérez started the season strongly, with two wins in the first four races, after which he was able to take the championship lead from pole position with a win in Miami. Things turned out differently: Verstappen won from ninth place, setting a record series of victories, while Pérez fell far behind. This season the Mexican started strong again, finishing second twice, but in Australia Doornbos noticed cracks in the 34-year-old’s form.

Pérez scored unsatisfactory at Doornbos

“Pérez wasn’t nice today,” Doornbos answers a question from presenter Rob Kamphues. ‘I don’t think he made an impression on the Red Bull staff. They are all sitting there at the pit wall thinking: what are we looking at? He started the season strongly, finishing second twice, but he took a blow here.’ The Rotterdammer did not think it was enough that Pérez finished in fifth place in no man’s land.

Sainz knocks on the door

What will increase the pressure for Pérez is that the former Toro Rosso driver is a free agent and is currently in phenomenal shape in 2024. ‘He qualified super strong. Let’s not forget that he was on his way to pole position,” Doornbos reflects on Saturday at the Ziggo Sport Race Café. “He lost it on a mistake in the last few corners.”

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carlos sainz leclerc podium australia ferrari
Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc celebrate.

In the race, the Madrilenian still struck with victory. “Lando (Norris, ed.) immediately said afterwards that he is now also going to have that appendix removed,” laughs Doornbos. ‘It is also time for Lando to win for once. The fact is that Sainz made a world start and had a great first stint. Of course it is nice for him when he sees Max drop out. He had already overtaken him, but that was because of the problem. He just saw Max make mistakes, and that doesn’t happen often,” Doornbos thinks that Sainz soon got extra motivation. ‘On the second lap, he already braked. I don’t know if Carlos could see the smoke or the fire, but then you know: there is something wrong with that Red Bull.’

Sainz is increasingly emerging as a key player in the driver market due to his top form. He seems to be an option at Mercedes, Aston Martin and Audi, but also at Red Bull Racing. “Why wouldn’t he just go back to the Red Bull family?” asks motorsport journalist Rick Winkelman. Doornbos can only agree with this. “This was the best possible application, if that’s what he needed. He has a dream to end up in a winning car. He’s never had a chance in the best car.”

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