Perez feels “definitely much more ready” to drive for a top F1 team

2020 Turkish Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

Sergio Perez says he is far better prepared to drive for a top Formula 1 team now than when he joined McLaren seven years ago.

The Racing Point driver will lose his place at the team at the end of this season. However he is believed to be under consideration by Red Bull as a potential replacement for Alexander Albon.

Perez spent a single season at McLaren in 2013 before being replaced by Kevin Magnussen. He has been at his current team, previously known as Force India, since then.

In that time he has developed a reputation as being on of the midfield most consistent drivers. He has been his current team’s top points scorer for the last five years, helping them to fourth in the championship behind the ‘big three’ of Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari in 2016 and 2017.

Fifth place in India was Perez’s best result for McLaren
Perez said he’s “learnt a huge amount” since leaving McLaren. “Going there, things that didn’t work,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans.

“Then being seven years with a different team, being in the sport, the level of [maturity], the level of knowledge, experience. I’m such a different driver, definitely much more ready to make it work than last time.”

Last weekend Perez scored his first podium finish of the season and equalled the best result of his career to date with second place. However he feels he should have scored two podium finishes earlier in the season.

“I should have a lot more points,” said Perez, who did not appear in either Silverstone round after testing positive for Covid-19.

Drivers, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
2021 F1 drivers and teams
“Missing two races is not ideal in such a short championship,” he said. “But overall I think I’m pleased especially with the level of consistency throughout the year.”

Asked whether it would be an “injustice” if he was unable to find a drive for next year, Perez said: “I think it’s part of Formula 1.

“I always knew this is how it is. I can call myself a privileged. I’ve had a great career, 10 years in Formula 1 up to now.

“If it was the case that I have to leave the sport I can leave with a lot of pride because I have delivered with the material I’ve had and not many people can have such a career. So we’ll see what happens but I’m in peace with myself.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2020 F1 season

Browse all 2020 F1 season articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

32 comments on “Perez feels “definitely much more ready” to drive for a top F1 team”

  1. I always argue that Perez has never had a chance in a top team. McLaren in 2013 was not the same team as in 2012 and it was the start of their downward spiral. Button won Grand Prix in 2012 and couldn’t even find a podium in 2013.

    Perez has compared well to Kobayashi, Button, Hulkenberg and Ocon. He deserves a shot in a potentially race winning car.

    I don’t think he’s in the same league as Hamilton, Verstappen, Leclerc etc. But I think he would consistently deliver podiums and great points scoring results. Frankly I think he would do a better job than either Bottas or Albon at the moment.

    1. I agree. I thought he was the one that Mercedes should have selected to replace Nico Rosberg, not Valtteri Bottas because (IIRC) Sergio had more WDC points than Valtteri did at the end of the 2016 season. At one time Sergio held the then current most consecutive Chequered Flag finishes (BEL, 2015 – CAN, 2017, = 36 races). I do hope he gets a seat in F1 next year, and especially a good seat too.

    2. I don’t think Bottas or Albon can even be compared as number 2 drivers. Bottas is ideal and Albon isn’t.

      Perez has had a mixed year, but incredibly good recently. Either he was very poor poor over the first half of the season (based on how most rate Stroll) or Stroll was truly outstanding as arguably until Stroll started having his run of bad luck (and a couple of poor races), he actually looked to be having a slightly stronger season than Perez, and this was also the time he got his contract.

      I think most years Bottas has looked stronger than Perez other than 2018. But even that wasn’t a great year for Perez given the amount of clashes he had with Ocon. In 2016 You certainly could say that the Force india towards the final 3rd of the season was stronger than Willaims and Bottas retired in the final race and had a fair dose of bad luck at other stages of the season too. I don’t think Perez exactly was better. One thing Perez has certainly done more than Bottas over his career is make more race ending mistakes. I don’t think I’ve seen enough from Perez to imply that he would do better than Bottas. His main strength is tyre management. His one lap pace is poor and I think he would find himself not on the front row with Mercedes far more often than Bottas. He often likely would be able to recover that thanks to his tyre management, but don’t think he would do better than Bottas over a whole season. Bottas has this thing where he often can be under whelming and often more so than Perez, but at least he finishes the races, though last race was admittedly his worst in some years. He’s only been at fault once for a retirement in his 8 years in F1. Perez does have more noteworthy races than Bottas, though not by a huge amount – but also has had far more races where he’s picked up penalties, made easily avoidable mistakes that cost him positions or end in retirement for him or others.

      He would be ideal to replace Albon as his race pace is far better, but I think the distance between him an Verstappen in qualifying may unfortunately only be marginally better.

      1. I don’t think Bottas or Albon can even be compared as number 2 drivers. Bottas is ideal and Albon isn’t.

        Agree. Bottas isn’t doing a terrible job. He’s been a good match to Hamilton on Saturdays.. but just doesn’t match up to him on most Sundays. At the most Bottas will lose out to one inferior car on some race weekends (Red bull of Max). Albon isn’t even in the same league as Verstappen and is more often than not slower than half the midfield drivers.

        Regarding Perez, I think he can be compared to Bottas in terms of performance… but in no way is he guaranteed to be better. I doubt Perez will qualify as strongly as Bottas. Maybe he’s a better race driver on Sundays, but even that is debatable, as Perez has never been matched with a teammate in the leagues of Hamilton or Verstappen.

        Perez is definitely a stronger candidate than Albon for that 2nd seat, but is he the driver most deserving of a race seat in one of the top 3 teams? I would think not. Sainz has been more impressive than Perez this season. Ricciardo is probably the driver who deserves a seat in a top team more than any other driver in the midfield. Russell and Norris are two certified youngsters who are quick, consistent and constantly improving. Hulkenberg is every bit as good as Perez as well. Gasly has probably been the most impressive midfield driver this year… so is Perez truly deserving of another top drive?

        Additionally, I don’t rate Perez as a good teammate. He’s caused a lot of problems at Mclaren in the past and even with Ocon at Force India. The Hulk seems like a stronger candidate in terms of a team player. Personally, I think the Hulk is the most deserving of a drive in an F1 top team for a season or two, then probably a Russell, Norris or Gasly to take his seat.

        1. @todfod

          I think Sainz was great last year. I just don’t think he’s always the best in race combat with other drivers. I think one reason why Sainz was solid last year was because McLaren was some way behind the top 3 teams and a similar distance ahead of the rest most of the time. This resulted in many pretty lonely races that he was very solid but didn’t really get challenged all that often. He’s also been pretty good this year, but over this year and the last, the fact he’s more or less matched by Norris who was a rookie last year doesn’t suggest all that much promise to me. This year, he also had 2 pretty bad races next to each other. Tuscany and Russia. In Tuscany he misjudged his speed and lack of downforce when going into a corner by Stroll and basically spun on his own. I think that without that chaotic restart and the fact he retired due to that hid that he likely will have not had an ideal strategy due to wrecking his tyres and likely will have struggled to finish in the points. Then Russia he simply made a huge error of judgement when rejoining the track at a stupid speed. Probably one of the most embarrassing reasons for retirement this year after Russell recently.

          Perez hasn’t made errors like these this year. Overall, in terms of playing the team mate role, I think either Perez or Sainz will be about as strong, but I don’t know who I would actually consider the stronger driver on the whole.

    3. First max and Leclerc aren’t in the same league as Hamilton and second I’m positive Perez could beat both max and Leclerc if everything was equal within the team

      1. @carlosmedrano
        I think overall, Hamilton is very clearly the best, but wouldn’t say there is a big step down to Verstappen. I think these two are pretty close, then there is a big step back to the rest. Leclerc has really good pace but seems weak in the wet and also has quite a few incidents. Has caused 3 DNFs this year alone. I think Perez has been to inconsistent to certainly beat Leclerc. Perez isn’t very strong in qualifying as was shown when he was with Hulkenberg, so in qualifying, I think if he was with Verstappen, he would be absolutely destroyed. And the chances of even being very close to Verstappen regularly would be pretty slim. I think Perez would be a similar distance behind Verstappen as Bottas is behind Hamilton. However, bigger in qualifying, but possibly closer than Bottas is to Hamilton in the races. But I don’t think Perez would have a chance at beating Verstappen. Until Stroll’s run of bad luck and 2 poor races, even he looked a little better than Perez this year. Peres had an underwhelming start and is only now starting to look strong again. I think he would be a good number two driver, but no better than the likes of Bottas.

    4. I agree with that. He’s quite consistent in delivering good points and preserving the tires during the race.

  2. Replacing Albon with Perez is the least of Red Bull’s concerns. They need to catch Mercedes first. There is little point in upgrading your number 2 driver if your number 1 driver cannot finish any higher than 3rd place on normal weekends.

    1. but a good nr.2 will help here against Mercedes. And ofcourse cathing Mercedes is also very important.

    2. I see what you’re saying, but all too frequently the Red Bull strategy has been scuppered by not having Albon in a good enough place to annoy the Mercedes’. Currently, they have two drivers who can outfox the single Red Bull. If Albon was even close enough to throw the cat amongst the pigeons a few times (eg: pit early, run long or try a different strategy), it would force more mistakes from Mercedes. At present it’s too comfortable.

      1. @ben-n The same as with Gasly, most notably in Hungary. Red Bull indeed would have more strategic options at their disposal against Mercedes in races if they weren’t as reliant on a single driver than they have been this season and were in the first half of last.

    3. @kingshark The problem is that they seem unable to improve the car on Verstappen’s feedback alone.

      Seeing how Racing Point was open about getting feedback from Hulkenberg and implementing changes based on that improved their car, I would say getting Hulkenberg to join Red Bull would seem like it can actually help move the whole team forward.

      Might even help Verstappen to learn how to provide better input to the team.

      1. Actually the car get beter due Max’s feedback the problem is at the beginning of the season they are so far behind. Every year they try things who have to be developed but seems testing is not enough for that. Sometimes i wonder what they are thinking with new aero builds.
        They are good with developing during the season but then you are trailing behind again.

        1. Max’s feedback whilst good is biased toward an unstable car, it is fast but this instability causes problems in consistency
          Perez’s feedback like Hulk’s would help bring some balance and easier keep it under control

    4. Jethro Janison
      20th November 2020, 3:10

      The problem with Red Bull is that they don’t treat Driver 2 like anything more than a whipping boy, to Red Bull it’s a sad fact they gotta race two… It’d be career suicide for Perez to join them unless they stop being such a toxic cesspit and start listening and caring about the second driver.

      1. Perez’s career is pretty much over as much as I like him, he said himself he’d welcome a red bull seat and I think it’s the right move, he’s never had a top team before, it’s worth a shot really.

        The problem is red bull seem insistent on albon just cause he had one decent race.

  3. I really believe Perez could cope well and even shine in a championship fight. One of very few. Yes he makes mistakes and loses his head sometimes, but that seems more out of frustration of being in an uncompetitive car more than anything. Shame he will never get that top drive.

  4. In some ways it makes zero sense. His one lap qually isn’t great and Max is arguably the quickest on 1 lap so he could still be 6-8th on the grid. RBR are way clear of 3rd in the Constructors but nowhere near 1st, so there’s no extra money from that. Alex for sure needs an arm round him not ultimatums. It upsets their 15 year RB young driver programme for a man nearer the end of a career than the beginning and Perez last opportunity in a fading top team was not a success.

    But RBR must be sick of the constant conversation about their No 2 driver, Perez is a safe pair of hands, he will bring it home when well placed and can be super easy on his tyres, a skill which cannot be understated with this current era of tyres. He also brings no lack of funding and with RBR losing Aston Martin it could be a very happy marriage.

    Id still say Alex is narrow favourite to keep the seat and i hope he does but for sure Perez will be hovering in his mind in every race and every mistake. Not a recipe for success usually.

  5. I don’t think he deserves a top drive, Leclerc, Ham, Max and Ricciardo are on a different level. He didn’t fair that well against some team mates either, results aside, Hulk always had more speed than him.
    He had a championship winning car this season and he squandered too many chances. However he did not lose his seat at mclaren and now at pink merc on the basis of performance.
    I don’t think RB want a Bottas, but there might not be anyone quick available.

  6. I wonder if Marko performed his analysis over what Perez will bring to the table.

    Is he going to bang wheels with Verstappen? Perez sure has a point still to prove in a top team.

    Will he be comfortable sacrificing his race so Verstappen can win? Yes, for a race or to he may be, but frustration will build up.

    Is he going to be the one giving the tow in all the power circuits?

    No expert here, but Hulkenberg seems more suitable for that kind of job.

  7. Sadly, it feels like its over for Perez, at least for 2021. Sounds like RedBull is going to stick with Albon unless he gets embarrassing in these last couple of races.

    Its a sad state of affairs when really good current top 10 F1 drivers are not being given seats. I know money and power in F1 can override ability/merit but I don’t think there’s ever been more nepotism in F1 than now? Latifi, Stroll and now Mazepin. Even though it’s only three drivers, the repercussions of them in F1 has also effected other seats and not necessarily for the better.

  8. It is a no brainer.

    Unless they get someone even better. Like say a 7 time WDC.

  9. I don’t think Red Bull hired Perez. To do so would be to publicly declare that their highly publicized young pilot program is a failure.
    Albon is racing only because he is of Thai origin, and the owner of Red Bull is Thai, otherwise no team would have hired him, he is a mediocre paid driver.
    Obviously Perez is not at the level of Vettel, Leclerc, Hamilton or Ricciardo but with a top-of-the-line car he would surely win some races.

  10. @jorge-lardone – v mixed comment. Agree they’ll keep Albon as it would be embarrassing for them to give up on their drivers. But not sure the Thai thing is relevant here. If Perez helps them get constructors’ title (i know, long shot), the marketing gain would be global.

    1. Jethro Janison
      20th November 2020, 3:12

      Them getting a constructor’s title hinges on them listening to and helping their second driver and not just going all in Max

  11. Jethro Janison
    20th November 2020, 3:11

    Perez has been outdriver Vettel for a few years and yet here we are at this crossroads where people just… Don’t wanna acknowledge the fact Perez is one of the best driver on the grid. Race day performances you’re hard pressed to find a driver better him outside of Hamilton and Verstappen.

  12. I like Albon, he seems a polite decent guy, but he really should not be there next year. Not a chance of it. The only reason I can see is for Red bull to make Max look good, which he doesn’t need – hes the fastest driver by far at the moment anyway.

    Bringing in Perez would upset things for Max but its actually what he needs, a teammate that can push him to the greatness thats hes destined for as the best driver since Alonso, Schumacher and Senna.

  13. If Stroll is as rich as they say, I’d like to see him start or buy a 2nd team with Hulkenberg and Perez as drivers (not going to happen I realise). They were a great pairing at Force India, delivered the best results possible with the equipment they had, and they worked well together.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.
If the person you're replying to is a registered user you can notify them of your reply using '@username'.