Max Verstappen is pleased with the experience Sergio Pérez brings to Red Bull Racing next season. The Mexican is Verstappens teammate in 2021. He replaces Alexander Albon, who is replaced because of disappointing results.
“ More experience in the team is welcome,” says Verstappen Friday evening at the end-of-year gala of motorsport federation FIA. “I hope we can put pressure on Mercedes together next year.”
Only two podium places
Where Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas has two drivers who invariably compete on the stage, Red Bull usually only has one car in the front. Verstappen can keep up with the pace of the Mercedes, Albon did not succeed this year.
In fact, Albon was only allowed to go to the stage twice, he did not go further than two-thirds places. Criticism of his performance swelled throughout the season. One week after the final race, the team decided not to renew Albons contract.
“ Of course I talked to the team about it,” says Verstappen. “Alex is nice, but he had a hard time this year. At the end of the ride, its not about being nice, its about performance.”
This season was Verstappens last chance to become the youngest world champion in F1 history. The lack of a teammate who can support him in this, broke him up on a regular basis. Competitor Hamilton has a buffer in stable mate Bottas that can protect him.
“Attackling Mercedes with the two of us.”
Verstappen: “I hope we are more competitive and can attack Mercedes with the two of us. We want to increase the pressure.”
Hamilton, who won his seventh world title this year, sees the arrival of Pérez as a reinforcement for Red Bull. “This might be our hardest season. Its been a long time since a team with two top riders could really open the attack on us.”
“ Im glad Max will receive support next year,” continues the British. “Ive been in his situation with McLaren against Ferrari, its hard to fight if your teammate cant come along. This makes Red Bull stronger.”
Pérez, who has been active in Formula One since 2011, was replaced by Sebastian Vettel at Racing Point. The German comes over from Ferrari. Because the other seat on the team is occupied by Lance Stroll, son of investor Lawrence Stroll, the Mexican seemed to have to leave Formula One.
According to many motorsport followers, that would be unjustified. After Hamilton, Bottas and Verstappen, Pérez finished fourth in the World Championships and won the penultimate race. In Bahrain, he was the first Grand Prix victory of his career.
Hamilton: “He was unprecedented this year, I am very happy for him. Its gonna make it harder for us.”
Intelligent and fast
Verstappen also saw the strong performances of Pérez. “Sergio is intelligent and fast. I like having a strong teammate, which puts me on focus and keeps me sharp.”
fact that Pérez will not be able to move aside on the track quickly and therefore can get in the way of Verstappen, is no problem for the Limburger. “I am not worried about the mutual cooperation. That went well with my previous teammates.”