Sergio Perez
Cheered on: Red Bull's Mexican driver Sergio Perez racing in front of his home fans ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP

Sergio Perez has slammed Red Bull for "unacceptable" car problems he suffered in Melbourne that have cost him an advantage in the drivers' title race.

Perez has been as influential as his Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen after the first four races of the 2023 F1 season. Both Red Bull drivers have won two races each, but Verstappen has one podium finish more than Perez, which happened at the Australian Grand Prix. While the two-time champion sealed a victory in Melbourne, a mechanical issue meant the Mexican driver only managed a fifth position after starting at the back of the grid due to a spin in qualifying.

After four races this year, Verstappen is leading the title race with 93 points, six more than teammate Perez.

'Wouldn't be travelling the world if I didn't believe I could win title'

Following the frustrating run at the Australian Grand Prix, Perez made up by clinching a superb victory in Azerbaijan last weekend. The Red Bull racer had a dominant three days at the Baku circuit, winning both the Sprint and the main race. The result ensured reigning champion Verstappen did not open a gap at the top of the 2023 drivers' standings, but Perez continues to be frustrated about his second place in the ongoing title race.

In a recent interview, when Perez was asked if he genuinely saw himself as a title contender this season, the Mexican replied, "I think with having three kids at home, I wouldn't be travelling the world if I didn't believe that I could be a world champion, and I'm working towards that.

"But, obviously, there is only so much you can say outside of the car, I think it's important to deliver on the track. I think without all the issues that we had in qualifying in Melbourne, we should be leading the championship. So, definitely, there is everything to believe that we can do well."

Continuing further in the interview, Perez stated that he is definitely "fighting for [the championship], but I also know that it's a massive road ahead, so I need to keep my head down and just keep delivering."

Perez's forgettable race weekend in Melbourne

Last month, Perez did not hold back his emotions as he slammed Red Bull for ruining his weekend in Australia.

"It was a really bad, very bad weekend. What happened on Saturday, it's totally unacceptable. We have to get to the bottom of it because I felt that we had a really good weekend up to [Saturday]. We worked so hard preparing for the Grand Prix and then that just put us back completely we lost all our confidence. And then I think definitely we had the basic fight for the victory today, but finishing in P5 is damage limitation," said Perez.

Meanwhile, Red Bull are in contact with retired F1 legend Sebastian Vettel, who could have a possible new role at his former team, according to Mirror.

Vettel retired at the end of last season after being in the sport for 15 long years. He won the drivers' title four years in a row with Red Bull before moving to Ferrari, where he struggled to emulate the same success. He spent his final two years at the wheel of an Aston Martin.

The German racer was known for his leadership skills in the latter stages of his career, where he served as a director for the Grand Prix Drivers' Association and acted as a mentor for fellow German Mick Schumacher in his first couple of seasons as an F1 driver.

AlphaTauri ace Yuki Tsunoda suggested last month that Vettel might be the ideal person to look after Red Bull's upcoming young racers.

"That would be really interesting to see how Sebastian would be as a team manager. He can be anything. For example, what Helmut Marko is doing now with Red Bull juniors. I think Sebastian would also be very good at taking care of Red Bull juniors because he's one of the most successful drivers in Formula 1," the Japanese racer said.