Red Bull F1 have struggled to find a driver capable of matching Max Verstappen ever since Daniel Ricciardo left for Renault. The Milton Keynes-based outfit have chanced on Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon in the past couple of years. But both of them have fallen way short of expectations, struggling to compete at the front of the grid. So Red Bull have now turned to a more experienced option in Sergio Perez.
The Mexican comes to the Austrian team high on confidence. Checo had his best ever F1 season last year finishing the campaign with 125 points, including his first Grand Prix win. Moreover, Perez is a veteran of close to 200 races. As such, team boss Christian Horner expects him to form a power duo similar to what Red Bull had with Verstappen and Ricciardo.
Horner said, “We are expecting him to be close to Max and challenging – in a way that we had with Daniel Ricciardo and Max for three seasons.
“So, hopefully, Sergio can play a real, really important role for the team in getting both cars, on a consistent basis, near to the Mercedes.”
Perez may well be the final piece in Red Bull’s jigsaw that enables them to mount a sustained title challenge against Mercedes. However, mastering the Red Bull machine is not an easy task, and in Verstappen’s shadow Perez’s star could quickly fade if he is not up to the task. But fans would hope that’s not the case. They’d want Sergio to help bring back the Constructors’ title to Milton Keynes.
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Red Bull boss talks about Max Verstappen’s development
The Dutchman is no doubt world championship winning material. Ever since he joined the Austrian team, Max has made heads turn, winning his first ever race on debut for Red Bull. Horner praised Verstappen‘s progression.
He said, “I think he’s matured enormously over the last few years. And I think what he’s extracted from the car in the last couple years has been truly impressive.
“In a car that hasn’t been as good as the Mercedes [and] to have won five races in the last two years with Honda power [as well], I think he’s done a fantastic job.”
Verstappen will be the critical cog in Red Bull battling for the title. The fact that Honda are bringing in early upgrades bolsters his cause. Can 2021 be the year in which he brings glory to himself and to his team? We shall find out soon.