Sergio Perez: I can still beat Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen to Formula One title

MONTMELO, Spain -- Sergio Perez believes he can beat Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen to this year's title, despite falling 39 points behind the reigning champion in the standings last weekend.

Perez crashed during qualifying at last weekend's Monaco Grand Prix and finished outside the points, meaning he dropped 25 points in one weekend to race winner and championship leader Verstappen.

Perez has won two grands prix and a sprint race compared to Verstappen's four race victories this year, but believes he has been on par with his teammate and has the pace to make up the deficit over the remaining 16 rounds of the championship.

"I've been a match to Max since the beginning of the season, in one way or another," Perez said. "It is sometimes better, sometimes worse and it's where I believe you have to be.

"I think being teammates with Max is probably the toughest thing you can have because he is a driver who has the most form of all, and I do believe it's possible to beat him."

Asked if he had the pace to beat Verstappen consistently, rather than victories like he had in Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan where events conspired against Verstappen, Perez said: "I have to. I have to do that regularly. That's the main objective for us."

Perez said he took responsibility for his accident in Monaco qualifying, which left him last on the grid and ruined his chances of a good result in the race, but insists he has hit the reset button ahead of this weekend's race in Spain.

"Formula One is my passion," he said. "I live for it, so it hurts a lot because you work so hard as a team and it feels like you have let your whole team down, so it hurts.

"But now this is behind me. It was important for me to put my hand up and I think every time you do a mistake, that is what you've got to do. Take responsibility.

"If this crash happened and I was 0.5s or a second off, I would be more concerned. But the positive thing is the speed is there to be able to swing around things, but for now I am mainly focused on weekend by weekend and I want to win and get victories on my side."