Hamilton: Perez’s Red Bull move will make life “much harder” for Mercedes

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton says that Sergio Perez’s move to Red Bull in place of Alexander Albon for the 2021 F1 season will make for an “exciting battle”.

What they say

Speaking ahead of the FIA gala, Hamilton said that he was impressed with Perez’s driving this season and said that he would be tactically important back-up for Max Verstappen:

With all due respect to Alex [Albon], in the races that we’ve had, it’s been me and Valtteri [Bottas] against Max.

I’ve been in the position that Max is in, particularly when I was at McLaren, where I was the the lead car and the second car wasn’t in the fight. So when we were fighting against Ferrari, they could really move around with the strategy and make it a lot harder for us.

So I think, naturally, this makes Red Bull stronger, particularly with the way Sergio’s performing. I think Sergio has driven incredibly well this year and truly deserved a drive. So I was so, so, so happy to hear that he’s been taken on by one of the top teams and given this opportunity.

I think it’s going to be an exciting battle to watch him up against Max, and that’s going to make it much harder for us as a team. So we’re going to have to really step up our game because that’s going to be a battle we’ve not seen for some time in terms of having the two drivers there fighting against us. But we relish that as a team. That’s what we work towards, we love the challenge and it’s going to make it that much more exciting.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Somewhere in the whirl of activity, rumours and eventual decisions about Red Bull’s second seat, a statistical threshold for their aims for the first one quietly passed:

Verstappen says he wants a competitive team mate (I’m not sure what his contract says though) but Red Bull has shown in the past they don’t play that way, they want a clear number one and number two driver.

The team has also said in the past that making Verstappen the youngest world champion was their goal; they have missed that opportunity since in order to beat Vettel’s record of 23 years and 134 days old Verstappen would have had to win the drivers’ championship in 2020, that doesn’t mean that Red Bull no longer see him as a future champion after all they have invested in him…
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On this day in F1

  • 15 years ago today Fernando Alonso, who had just won the world championship for Renault, made the shock announcement he would join McLaren at the end of 2006

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Hazel Southwell
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66 comments on “Hamilton: Perez’s Red Bull move will make life “much harder” for Mercedes”

  1. Hopefully Perez will recall exactly how happy he was to take the confirming call from Marko the nth time they pit him out of sequence or leave him on worn tyres or otherwise put him on the Webber strategy.

    1. @didaho As long as Sergio is on the pace, preserving his tires & in the fight, they won’t need to favor another driver. Max has just been too fast & people need to get it out of their heads that RedBull is purposely penalizing or not helping their 2nd driver. They are giving equal equipment & all the help needed. It’s up to the second driver to perform.

      1. @s2g-unit they didn’t always get equal equipment, as Marko confirmed that, in the early part of the 2020 season, Red Bull prioritised Max when it came to upgrades (apparently due to the team being unable to produce enough parts for both cars to get the same updates). You can argue over the exact reasons why, but it is nevertheless the case that, as a consequence of those decisions, there were times when the drivers were not being given the same equipment.

        1. As we heard from several teams who had their supply chain and their factory time interrupted due to the pandemic.

          1. @robbie I did note that you can debate the causes and reasons, but the point is that the original poster was trying to claim that Red Bull was always giving drivers exactly the same equipment in all circumstances.

            It was to put the point back to that poster the point that his claims were technically incorrect and that the team has operated cars in a different specification (and whilst 2020 might have seen some disruption, it’s not, strictly speaking, the first time that the team has done that either).

          2. anon In fairness he hasn’t said exactly equal all the time. I just think that during the beginning of the season after some months of pandemic shutdown it wouldn’t have necessarily been a decision they had much choice in making. That is speaking to this unique season.

            But of course we all know by now there are always times with teams every season when it is only prudent that one driver would be better suited to experiment with a new one-off component as inaccurate data and feedback would be obtained from a driver less comfortable in the car. Or if a driver is more in need of the points due to being on a better Championship position. Happens all the time. It doesn’t have to be thought of as always malicious or unfair to the driver left out. If the component proves worthy they run with it for both cars. Often both drivers get them at the same time which makes for an even better way for them to conduct the experiment. And when they have to give the prime driver the one-off, I highly doubt they count that as a strike against the other driver (in this case AA) if performance lacks and that can be tied to said new component. In this case AA would have squandered the new component, and would have fully agreed with that himself and not been offended I’m sure. He’s a professional. Over that kind of stuff way quicker than some posters.

          3. @robbie the tone that the original poster struck came across as a blanket statement of “they’re always equal – end of discussion”, with it coming across as a very absolute statement.

            Now, there are indeed circumstances where a team might choose to change their policies and then prioritise upgrades for a driver for the reasons that you list, and that I do not dispute – indeed, it might be a very logical decision to do just that. That is a much more nuanced discussion, and one where talking in the sort of absolute terms that was given in the original post is not helpful.

        2. Max said Albon drove 95% of the races with the same parts as him. So Marko was right here but sstil that doesn’t count for Albons dreadfull performance.

      2. Albon has not driven very well, but there are multiple times when RBR have put him on terrible strategies, especially by pitting him far too early and thus putting him into unnecessary traffic.

  2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    19th December 2020, 3:06

    Yes, right after that making that statement Toto, Lewis, and Bottas held a party to celebrate winning the 2021 season!

    Lewis: “We’ll never see Verstappen or Perez on track after the 1st lap!”
    Bottas: “I might!”
    Toto: “Just make sure they don’t accidentally hit either of you, when they take each other out. We need to practice that! This is going to be our strength next year, we need to avoid getting tangled in all the silly accidents that Checo and Max get involved in. It’s going to be super-ultra-competitive – I can’t wait to congratulate Christian on such a deft strategy.”
    Lewis:”It’s a shame – I’ll miss racing with Max”
    Bottas:”I won’t!”
    Toto: “Wow, I can’t believe they hired Checo – we would have paid his salary if they’d asked us to. Too bad we can’t get Maldonado to race for Red Bull or Ferrari”

    1. Amusing, but not realistic, the job for Perez is to frustrate and displace the #3 teams drivers while Max chases glory, he will be RBRs Bottas or SFRs Sainz.

      1. But what will Ocon’s role be?

      2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        19th December 2020, 14:30

        @hohum Perez is not going to play that role – I don’t feel he deserves to play that role and that means he certainly doesn’t feel that way. At this point in time, he believes he deserves to win a championship especially after getting a victory from the back of the pack in a Racing Point.

        You have 2 drivers who firmly believe they deserve to win a championship in the Red Bull. Perez has waited a lifetime to get the chance to play high stakes and he never thought it would come again. He has nothing to lose and everything to prove. Max is in for the fight of his life. Perez will take no prisoners – he’ll obliterate everything to get what he wants. After all, he has already saved one team and they repaid him by booting him after winning a race for them so he has no intention of assisting the team. There’s only 1 team there and it’s team Perez!

        1. @freelittlebirds While I wouldn’t be surprised if you are right about that being Perez’s internal attitude, in terms of playing a role that is going to be entirely up to him and how he does with the car. I don’t believe his role from RBR’s eyes is to strictly be a rear gunner for Max. I just think that Max is that good, as well as having the advantage of being the engrained driver on the team, that Perez may end up appearing to be Max’s rear gunner.

          Max’s sights are set on the Mercedes’ particularly LH’s, as should Perez’s be, and let the chips fall where they may. I think Max will prevail most of the time, but that is not meant to take anything away from what I think will be a great job done by Perez. But Max in for the fight of his life? From Perez? I’d be surprised. Perez no intention of assisting the team? That doesn’t sound like him. I think he will assist them in every way possible including if that somehow means him giving Max the fight of his life if at all possible. I just don’t see it playing out that way. Mainly what he needs to do for the whole RBR team is his level best, and I have no doubt whatsoever that is exactly what he will do.

          RBR are not the defending Champs and as spelled out by Max, Perez will help push him and help with his input in developing the car while the whole team goes after Mercedes. Let’s see how things play out with ‘roles’ and what have you one race at a time, one stint at a time.

        2. You talk as if RBR’s drivers now have a chance to win the WDC. That’s delusional. They had a much better chance when it was Max and Daniel and they failed. Mercedes dominance is unprecedented and unchallenged. People who think Schumi/Ferrari were nearly as dominant clearly weren’t there or have forgotten what actually happened.

          Either way, F1 is like Disneyland now. A very safe, very expensive ride that always ends at the same place.

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            20th December 2020, 14:35

            Strange things are afoot at Red Bull. Apparently they are changing nearly half the car. It’s hard to understand the plan without seeing the full picture – too many variables in play. New engine, new car, new driver lineup…

      3. @HoHum

        Also his job as stated by RBR is not to be a rear gunner for teams behind them, but to be close up front to prevent Merc from splitting their strategy to cover anything Max tries.

    2. Whilst I hope you’re not right about Max and Checo regularly hitting each other, bravo on the well written comedy, especially the very Finnish Bottas responses.

    3. This should be a new feature in the round-up: What They Really Said.

    4. It’s rare anyone get satire correct on a technical subject right, but well done here. The key of course to is that it’s actually not the ridiculous. I can see them taking each other out and always thought Hulk would have been a far better partner for Max, for this reason

      “It’s going to be super-ultra-competitive”

      I’ve LOL at that one. You could actually visualise Toto saying it

  3. Weird to read the Racer post after yesterday’s announcement.

  4. I wonder if the animal welfare UN ambassador will lodge a protest against F1 and Sainz.

    1. Wait is there another problem for Sainz?

      1. I see what you did there…

        1. You probably didn’t…

  5. Don’t worry Alex, Lewis compares you fondly to Heikki Kovalainen…

    1. I think he does not like Albon much, jealousy.
      Lewis is going to miss Perez.
      Perez is never going to help mercedes again, sfi/RP have always helped merc, last season by troubling Rb and in the past often by running long, preventing RB from undercutting.
      Vettel will have to help Lewis from now on. Don’t know if he will.
      I can’t see checo being quick enough for RB but surely he’ll be behind the 3 cars more often than Albon.
      Cabron is a profane word.

      1. Jealousy? Are you serious?

        1. He is seriously deluded

      2. @peartree Carron can be a profane word but in Mexico at least, when used between friends it’s an expression of great admiration.

      3. @peartree Cabron, I mean – autocorrect.

  6. Hamilton straight? Big Red corner? Has anything on a circuit, anywhere, ever been named after Jackie Stewart? He did more than anyone to save lives in motor racing, but he seems to be held almost in contempt. What’s the story?

    1. Albert Park turn 14, that’s it. You are right, it is odd. @rsp123

    2. I think Bernie and Watkins did more for safety than Stewart.
      Silverstone have never done it, so its probably logical that the first time they do its for statistically the greatest driver ever.
      As for the others I’m guessing it’s a combination of spending your career rubbishing those very tracks for safety and post career reminding everyone at every opportunity. He even complains about it in his book.
      Although you would have thought at least Knockhill would have found a bit of tarmac to name after him.

    3. He made a lot of enemies in motorsport and old men have long memories. I dont see what naming a pit straight after Lewis has any connection with Stewart, just as the Senna Esses or Mansells name being used has nothing to do with what Jackie should or shouldn’t have. Its always Lewis though isn’t it, ‘whys he getting it when blah blah blah’. I wonder why that is?

      1. >I wonder why that is

        Insinuation is a wonderful, novel tool often used in defenses of nonexistent attacks on Hamilton’s honour, but anyway, to answer you civilly:

        Probably because men who have gone before Hamilton and achieved big things in inarguably more dangerous and laissez-faire times get inarguably less recognition than a guy who is the best statistically and subjectively in the top 2-3 drivers of the safest era of F1…which was at least in part thanks to the men mentioned previously.

        If you are going to be polemic, please do so directly instead of hiding behind innuendo and the like. Anything less just gets taken for the weak jab it is.

    4. @rsp123 We should probably start a campaign to have the second straight in Bahrain be named after him. It seems fair.

    5. @rsp123 you have to bear in mind that quite a few of the circuit owners really hated Stewart for what he was doing – his campaigns for better safety cost them quite a lot of money, and since he was also pointing out how incompetent most of them were at providing fairly critical items, such as even basic medical facilities, they were also rather angry at the damage that he did to the reputation of some circuit owners.

      With the resentment from quite a few of those circuit owners taking decades to fade, it’s perhaps not surprising that those circuit owners were then rather reluctant to name part of a circuit after somebody whom they saw as an enemy for quite some time.

  7. Will should be might.
    15 pole positions and 13 wins and barely any car changes allowed isn’t a basis for a competitive season next year.

    And that speculative underbelly comment made cotd, apparently there wasn’t alot to choose from..

  8. It’s ok Lewis all you have to do mate is hit the party mode, festival mode, holiday mode or whatever that button is called on your wheel and leave everyone behind.

  9. I’m sure LH ‘so so so’ hopes SP will take some points away from Max.

  10. I am not sold on Perez to Red Bull. Not saying Perez is bad as I actually think he’s pretty great but I can’t see the hype that’s being built around him. His race pace is pretty excellent but I don’t see him as anything special over one lap, and having watched the drama with Ocon at Force India and how close Ocon could run him, I don’t know – I don’t think he’s going to do as well at RB as everyone seems to think. Overall I still think Hulkenberg was the better option.

    1. Checo is not the greatest qualifier.. But that is not the quality RBR was looking for in the first place.
      Checo is a very consistent point scorer and will take podiums when available. All quality’s RBR was missing since the departure of Ricci.
      And yes, i really would have liked to see the Hulk return. But reality is he never scored a podium in all his years in cars able to achieve such a goal when the moment arrived. ( like Germany 2019) So consistency is not his forte.

    2. While Hulk is definitely the go-to for sheer pace, on pretty much every other metric Perez looks the safer bet, not to mention his affinity with the junk tyres that have been used for the best part of a decade in F1 now, as well as his frequent visits to the podium (compared to the rest outside the big 3). At this point it’s clear RB have tired of fishing around and experimenting hoping to find some raw Verstappen-lite to mould into whatever they want, and in view of the WCC standings and per-point prize money (and Ferrari being guaranteed out of the top 3 again for ’21), not to mention Perez bringing easily 10% of their (capped) budget in sponsorship, it was something of a no-brainer to hire Perez.

    3. PER will be used to slow down HAM and BOT after their first pit stop. PER will be asked to qualify 4th(at worst), using the medium tire in Q2 while VER uses the soft tire in q2 for a better start off the line. Merc cant pit early or they will get stuck behind PER. PER will be going long hoping for a vsc or sc when he is supposed to pit.

    4. @rocketpanda
      Hulk was overrated and mistake prone.

      RBR is a great tactical team, so with a strong 2nd driver they can outsmart the horrible tactical team at Merc and take at least a couple more wins next season.

    5. Race pace is everything. The car does most of the work in qualifying, thats why you often get teammates line astern

  11. Not unless perez gets the same car gasly and albon have been driving. Red bull only hired perez because he is known as a good driver and they want max to beat known drivers to market max better.

    1. @carlosmedrano poor carlos.. another year with lots of pain ahead for you.

    2. So your opinion of Mr.Perez is that he is nothing more than cannon fodder. Lovely 👍

    3. @carlosmedrano Given your attitude, it makes sense that you have missed the fact that some consider Max every bit the driver LH is. Given what Max has already done in general, and in terms of being the only challenger to the mighty Mercs, and nearly even took second off VB in the WDC, Max doesn’t need to beat Perez to increase his marketing value. At this point that is expected of him. Think of it this way…at this point would anyone think Max, with a 7 year and counting run in a dominant car, sometimes utterly dominant, wouldn’t be utterly formidable to the competition? Saying Max needs the marketing value of beating Perez is like saying LH needs the marketing value of beating VB.

    4. Congrats on Perez getting the gig, I thought Albon had done enough to secure another year, but i guess not.

      On this point of the car, we’ll have to reserve our judgment until perez get out in the car, but im
      guessing it wont be anything like he’s use to.

      I seriously hope the Redbull engineers start to focus on what the driver need for them to perform.
      It seems to be that dialoge out to be going both ways, and is perhap the reason why their
      drivers are under performing. This another reason why the Mercedes have held that mantle for
      so long. They listen to their drivers, or should i say they listen to Hamilton.

  12. Thanks @hazelsouthwell for the CotD nod.

    It had been a silly season in every sense of the phrase in 2020; it had slipped my mind until just this week.

    1. Dolphin this was my response to your post on the original thread from yesterday. Everyone sees Max as a future Champion, especially since, if you want to go down the ‘clear #1 and #2’ road, that means Max won his first race with RBR in DR’s car. Clearly by going along with this thinking DR became the clear #1 post-Vettel, although he was bested by Kvyat in 2015, but still…And then there’s the fact that they wanted very much for DR to stay, and that would have made Max’s life more difficult. Not that that bothered Max. He wanted the competition and the push just as he has spoken of hopefully getting that from SP.

      If Max is clear number 1, he made himself that. And he did that well before they had a chance to ‘make the car his’ let alone make it suit him to the extreme of it being to his teammates’ disadvantage.

  13. Dave (@davewillisporter)
    19th December 2020, 15:41

    Always fun reading the loony takes. Redbull cannot win the Constructors championship with one car. They’ve looked at Perez and seen a driver that can be Bottas to Max. A solid reliable points scorer race in race out. (Albeit Bottas is a faster qualifier but Perez is the better racer.)
    It’s that simple folks. These guys run a business. That business is to win.

    1. @davewillisporter For sure, and perhaps it might be safe to say next year’s RBR car might be the best one SP has had in F1, so it’s going to be fun and exciting to see what prevails. I’m sure he’s ultra stoked.

      1. I for one cannot wait to read everything about this new 2021 RBR car. It will take a massive effort from Newey and Honda to beat the monstrous Mercedes engine. 🤞

        I am in awe of that thing and what it does.

        1. Don’t hold your breath. Or do. There’s a pandemic on.

      2. Yes, hopefully the car will be a bit closer to merc than it was this year. I’d say so far that right the last force india he drove in 2020 must be the best car he ever had, and certainly not the 2013 mclaren.

    2. The business is to make profit, not win. Winning comes second. Basically, it is a business FIRST and a sport SECOND.

      Otherwise, Red Bull would have left Formula 1, as they haven’t won anything for the past 6 years. Let’s not get it twisted.

  14. When you think Perez is quite old, but realize he is younger than Ricciardo. And that they are both 5 years younger than you are.

  15. Max: “99 percent of the people reacting on social media have no clue” And I believe him.

  16. I’m pretty sure Perez wont be going to Redbull to be a grateful number 2 driver, he’ll be out to compete with max, which could drive the team forward, or hinder their progress.

  17. I hope Max can teach Sergio the fast lap and Sergio can teach Max how to race. Max dive-bombs opportunities, Checo creates them.

  18. I find it amusing coming from who denied a podium place to Albon twice in a row…

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