Alexander Albon, Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Silverstone, 2021

Verstappen hopes Perez’s arrival makes life more difficult for Mercedes

2021 F1 season

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Max Verstappen hopes the arrival of Sergio Perez makes Red Bull more effective rivals to Mercedes, who he expects will remain the team to beat this year.

Perez has replaced Alexander Albon in the Red Bull’s line-up for the 2021 F1 season. Verstappen, who is beginning the year with his fourth different team mate in as many years, says the pair “always got on very well anyway, so it’s very relaxed and good relationship already.”

Verstappen has scored more than twice as many points as his team mate for the last two years in a row. He hopes Perez’s arrival will provide the boost Red Bull need to take the fight to Mercedes in the championship.

“For me, it honestly doesn’t really change that much,” said Verstappen. “For the team, on the other hand, I think we always want to score with two cars as high as possible. So let’s see if that’s going better this year.

“That’s of course the goal, that’s what we all want, to try and make it a bit more difficult for, probably, Mercedes – I mean, they must be the favourites still. So let’s see how everything goes.”

Perez’s experience of the Mercedes power unit, which he has used throughout the V6 hybrid era, can also be valuable for Red Bull and Honda, said Verstappen.

“His information from the years he had done at another team, different power units, stuff like that, he can transfer to the team his findings and the differences. So I hope, of course, it can help the team or at least gives them kind of different ideas about a few things.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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10 comments on “Verstappen hopes Perez’s arrival makes life more difficult for Mercedes”

  1. Jonathan Parkin
    26th February 2021, 8:16

    I’m still cautious about how this match up is going to go. Remember Red Bull want Verstappen to be champion. If Perez finishes on the podium in the first race and Verstappen doesn’t it will be interesting to see what happens next

    1. Well, say what you think will happen then. Don’t stop there

      1. I can reply on behalf of Mr. Parkin, assuming he will correct any part of my statement to which he disagrees. Perhaps even all of it. :O)

        Verstappen is an incredible talent. There are few drivers on the grid that you can call incredible. There is absolutely zero (barring unforeseen circumstances like injuries, etc.) chance any team mate that Red Bull places in their 2nd car will beat Verstappen over a season. He is the clear #1 and Red Bull management are always going to be very careful to select a good enough driver who is clearly not good enough to mess with the team dynamics. Perez is a good driver but he has never been incredible. He may beat Verstappen in a few races… but over a season? No chance.

        Regardless of my over-the-top insistence on zero possibilites… If, somehow, Perez was beating Verstappen consistently, I am sure Red Bull’s attitude would be: This will be good for Max; he’ll learn and grow even stronger as he fights back. They are not going to start ambushing Perez’s car, etc. Although, if Perez is ahead but not by miles, I am sure that Red Bull will always try to tweak the strategies, pits stops, etc. to give Verstappen the advantage.

        1. o be very careful to select a good enough driver who is clearly not good enough to mess with the team dynamics.

          Did they really had an option that fits this narrative?
          Perez was by far the best available option. If they could have signing Hamilton of Leclerc they would have..

    2. Jonathan Parkin I think all that would happen next is they’d do what they always do and move on to the next race, and if after several SP was still that strong, they’d count themselves very lucky and it would be up to Max and his side of the garage to do what they always do too…nose to the grindstone…one session, one stint, one race at a time. Progress and try to make a dent in the Mercedes mega team.

  2. Clearly Albon was at the shakedown earlier this week and had to watch Perez driving around in what was his car. Ouch!

  3. A good team mate should have quite an impact on Verstappen as well.
    He will be pushed a bit more on Saturdays and Sundays, which can only be good.
    And most importantly they can play strategic games, and frustrate the strategic freedom which Mercedes had in 2020. This should allow Verstappen to aim higher, even if the relative team strengths hasn’t changed.

  4. I just realized that a big part of getting Perez was surely for him to do the long stints he’s known for and mess up Mercedes’ strategy.

    He will surely not touch Verstappen on speed and points, but all he has to is start right behind and do his tyre management trick, and that’s something he can probably deliver race after race.

  5. What will frustrate the likes of Albon and Gasly is if Red Bull provide a more compliant car having been able to fix whatever was going on at the rear the past couple of years. It could look embarrassing for them if Perez is straight on the pace and can either adjust his style to the deficiency or if they’ve been able to fix it.

    1. @alec-glen I’m sure you’re right but that’s F1 for you though, and at the same time AA is their reserve driver and simulator man, so lol he might even have, or have had during the off-season a hand in progressing the car. He surely would have had a lot to say last season and since about what he was feeling and experiencing such that his input would be valuable to fixing issues that were just the nature of that car and that hopefully they have now been able to design out of it with a partly clean slate. I think Horner said this B car is about 60% last year’s and 40% new work.

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