Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2021

Red Bull “desperately need” Perez to put pressure on Mercedes – Horner

2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says the team are relying on Sergio Perez to apply pressure to the Mercedes drivers in the championship fight.

Perez didn’t figure in the fight for the podium places in the Spanish Grand Prix after qualifying eighth. He suffered shoulder pain on Saturday and spun during Q3. In the race he passed Daniel Ricciardo on his way to fifth.

“I think it’s coming together for him,” said Horner on Sunday evening. “He had an off-day yesterday.

“He was compromised in the race behind Daniel, obviously. But then he didn’t manage to make the headway at a track that’s so difficult to pass.”

Max Verstappen led much of the race in the other Red Bull, but fell to second place behind Lewis Hamilton at the finish. Hamilton was able to make a second pit stop to attack Verstappen on fresh tyres, losing only a position to his team mate Valtteri Bottas, as Perez was further down the order.

Spanish GP review: How Mercedes left Red Bull unable to respond to Hamilton’s victory charge
“Of course we desperately need him to be in that gap so that Mercedes don’t have the strategic options that they had today,” said Horner. “But I’m convinced that will come for Checo as he finds more confidence and time in the car.”

Horner made a similar comment to Verstappen after the race, referring to Hamilton’s similar win in the Hungarian Grand Prix two years ago. “Unfortunately, like Hungary, they had a free stop behind them, so they had all the options,” he said on the radio.

He said the message was not intended as a criticism of Perez. “The facts are that obviously Checo had been held up,” Horner explained. “So the facts are very clear that obviously the two lead guys were so far ahead of the rest of the pack, as it were, and gave Lewis a free stop as he had in Hungary, he’s only got to get it past his team mate that was never going to be an issue.

“So that’s why we need both cars up there strategically so that option isn’t available to Mercedes.”

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    104 comments on “Red Bull “desperately need” Perez to put pressure on Mercedes – Horner”

    1. This sums up Redbull’s weekend

      1. Vikrant Singla
        11th May 2021, 8:01

        its the same since ricciardo left redbull

    2. It’s fair to say Redbull never really had a chance of winning this GP as the pace of Lewis was much faster than what Max could do on the same tyre. If the temps had been higher maybe Lewis wouldn’t have been able to push so hard and Max could have held on.. but basically the Mercedes strategy was better and their car faster… Damage control is what Max needed to do and running 1st in free air certainly meant he beat Bottas had he been behind Lewis all race I doubt he would have managed to come in 2nd.

      1. …but basically the Mercedes strategy was better…

        No doubt Mercedes had a great strategy pitting Lewis on lap 42, but I really think people are overestimating the brilliance of it. They had many advantages to play with:
        – a faster car that was kinder to its tires
        – Bottas in the pit window for Max
        – Lewis behind the wheel.

        On the other hand, I’m not sure what an alternative strategy would have been for RedBull. Maybe pit for a second time before or after Lewis did, but don’t forget that Max didn’t have any new mediums left and that Bottas (and ofcourse Lewis) would have been ahead.

      2. “It’s fair to say Redbull never really had a chance of winning this GP as the pace of Lewis was much faster than what Max could do on the same tyre.”

        It would also be fair to say that the pace advantage only came with a tyre wear advantage of 20-odd laps thanks to the two-stop strategy. Hamilton never got close enough to try an overtake on the softs and the first stint on mediums was cut short when Verstappen jumped into the pits early.

        1. Vertsappen didn’t pit first on the mediums, that was Lewis?

          The most direct comparison we had was that Lewis was faster on the softs in the first stint and then after the first round of pitstops was catching Max at over a second a lap. There was never really any stage where Max was faster on track aside from the end where he was going for fastest lap. The reality is that Bottas had the same pace that Max did

          1. That was because Red Bull put Verstappen on a hopeless strategy. The First mistake was pitting First so early to protect the undercut as they could have gone for the one stop but eek out the softs another 5 laps to make it viable. Had they done that Mercedes would likely have committed earlier.

            Having made the mistake however then realised Hamilton was going long they should have committed Verstappen to 2 stop and told him to push on his tyres. Instead they left Verstappen managing his pace for 30 laps using none of his cars raw pace. This is not hindsight, simply common sense that it was their only chance once they rolled the dice on the First stop too early.

          2. Yes, Verstappen did pit first – on lap 24 vs 28 for Hamilton.

            Bottas was only able to match Verstappen’s pace on the mediums because he was going flat out (like Hamilton) while Verstappen was having to manage his tyres to get to the end of the race. You can drive much faster if you know your tyres only have to last half as long as your rival’s.

        2. I saw that differently. For the entire length of the first stint on the softs Hamilton was only around DRS-ish range behind. He had no problem running the pace Verstappen had. In fact, the lap Verstappen bolted into the pits I believe Hamilton would have passed him if he didn’t.

          The pass into the first corner won track position on a track where overtaking is difficult. That makes the lead car want to try and make the one-stop work since you’d want to protect track position. The two-stop makes more sense for the following car since there is no track position to defend anyway.
          RBR could have thrown the dice with an earlier stop for Verstappen onto softs but I think it would not have mattered anyway because Hamilton had enough tire/pace left. It would have only increased risk for Verstappen to lose second place.

          ..which makes the late Bottas pit seem weird to me.

          1. I really agree… I really don’t understand why stop him. Let him on track to make RB think twice about stopping MV. Let LH get fastest lap. If Max stops and passes Bottas, then call him to pit and give him opportunity to get FL.

    3. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      10th May 2021, 8:55

      Early days but I fear we have seen ‘this’ Checo before in 2013. Not sure he has the mindset for a top team. I’m not sure he responds well to pressure even with his vast experience. You would think with that much experience he would drive within his limits, drive to a limit he’s capable of and improve week after week calmly. But like so many others he’s overdriving, making many mistakes, giving himself too much to do come Sunday and you can see it in his driving and more importantly in his interviews “uncomfortable with car, headaches, dizziness, not sure what happened,l etc etc.”

      Don’t try and compete with Max, just extract what you can from the car and build on that.

      1. It seems this whole 2nd driver thing at RB is only going to work if you put Lewis in that car next to Max. They better focus on improving their car. There is nothing wrong with the ones driving it. It is just that both Lewis and Max are on another level. Bottas can only keep up since the car is incredible

        1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
          10th May 2021, 9:41

          I agree those two are on another level and are pushing each other even further. With an honourable mention to Leclerc who is my other stand out talent.

          1. Agreed. Leclerc needs to be up there too. These 3 have proven their skills. Possibly joined by Russell but just the one outing in the Merc said more about the car and Bottas than about him, so will have to wait a bit more

            1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
              10th May 2021, 12:30

              Yeah I think a lot of Russell as a natural talent. Could be right up there as a prospect.

            2. Norris seems a better prospect than Russell imo. Calmer head, Great energy and team spirit and delivers results even under pressure. Norris is a lot closer than Russell as a whole package right now.

        2. Verstappen and Hamilton are pushing each other to incredible levels so far this season.

          However, to say that Bottas “can keep up since the car is incredible” is misleading. Despite having a gap erased thanks to the SC, Bottas still finished 33s behind Hamilton and had a stint on the fastest tyre.

          The second driver issue at RB is a direct consequence of building the car and team around Verstappen.

          1. F1oSaurus (@)
            10th May 2021, 11:31

            @scbriml You mean Bottas was 33s behind in Portugal? That was because he took an extra stop for a fastest lap.

            Although he ended up far back in Spain as well. Maybe because he felt demotivated after the team orders? Before that he was 10 seconds behind. Mostly because he had been stuck behind Leclerc. After getting past Leclerc he kept pace with the lead cars. Until he was passed by Hamilton and then he suddenly lost 17s extra over the last 15 laps.

            1. @f1osauras No, I’m talking about Spain, but read the wrong times! Yes, he finished 26s behind Hamilton and nearly 30s ahead of Leclerc.

              He was easily passed by both Hamilton and Verstappen in Portimao after leading the race. No team orders, just not fast enough. Verstappen’s fastest lap was a lot faster than Bottas and set in almost identical circumstances.

          2. I dont think the team builds a car around Verstappen and if they do they should know by now that is not needed. There is no Max driving style other than his ability to adapt to whatever you give him. He says himself he needs 3 laps. I know Grosjean admired this since he complimented Max on his virtual career and the ability to switch between sim and real cars (which more of the youngster can btw, like Norris.. mind you only real sims, not F1 game or Gran Tourismo or any other of these fun but still too much arcade games). More drivers have indicated they would not be able to do that since they’d have to get used to the car again. I think Max has shown in his first race for RB that he doesnt have to get used to a car to the extent others need to. Therfore I dont believe the car is set up for Max.

            1. Put Max, Lewis, Valteri and Sergio on identical cars and I’m not sure who would be 1. But fight for 3 would be nice too. Maybe VB a bit ahead of SP, but I’m not really sure. Bottas does a nice work in a car built for Hammilton. RB does the same. They want Max to be champion. If one upgrade is great for Max but bad for Sergio they’ll do it. Albon and Gasly aren’t bad pilots. Just didn’t got used to the car. Sergio did great in rain races last year… How was him at Imola? RB is built for Max as much as Mercs are built for Lewis. And they are the best pilots this season. It’ll be like this for the rest of the year. Anyone that DNF one time will be in trouble. For what I see now, Max more than Lewis. But if Ham DNF Monaco and Max win? Max leading championship and pressure on Hammilton (we saw him under a lot of pressure on Imola).

          3. If a constructor wants to be the champion, I don’t believe they would build a car for just one driver.

      2. @rdotquestionmark

        Honestly, anyone who genuinely thought Sergio would challenge Max, or even be close to his level, was clearly delusional. Sergio was never even on Ricciardo’s level, and Ricciardo found it extremely hard to match Max by the of 2018. So, realistically, Perez would only have performed marginally better than Albon or Gasly.

        As you mentioned, 2013 comes to mind, when Sergio was a top midfield driver, but couldn’t cut it with the cream of the crop. I wasn’t getting any Red Bull teammate battle between Max and Sergio this season, and I expected him to improve enough during the season to become Red Bull’s own Bottas. Right now, he isn’t even driving at a Bottas level, and that’s really going to hurt Red Bull’s WCC chances, as well as Max’s WDC chances.

        I think Sergio’s clock is ticking as well.. if he can’t step it up by mid-season, he’s most likely cost Red Bull the WCC anyways. As you mentioned, he’s just got to block Max’s benchmark out of his head and go driving. He should at least be finishing in P4 on a regular basis.

        1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
          10th May 2021, 16:36

          I actually agree with all of that. I thought he could do a solid Webber style job (post 2010 after they’d broken him). I though Checo would be experienced and solid without being exceptional but he’s coming across as a rookie. Early days but you get a tone of what’s coming now

        2. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
          10th May 2021, 16:37

          Didn’t tag @todfod

        3. As soon as Ricciardo decided to move on, the second Red Bull syndrome kicked in and by memory he finished half of the races and failed to make it to top 5 in 75% of the races he finished (this is by memory so bear with me). Name one time in RB’s history when they had 2 cars (and drivers) in top form and it would be from the moment Max arrives to when Ricciardo decides to leave.

    4. Max summed it up nicely in his interview with Ziggo sport after the Spanish Grand prix yesterday about his options and being constrained by fighting alone and teammate’s performance. (Looks like he speaks his mind especially about his teammate only to Ziggo sport – Last year Bahrain 2020 when Alex finished 40S behind)

      Also, the tipping point for poor Gasly to lose the seat was Hungary 2019 just before the summer break..

      Maybe Uncle Marko will be thinking of rolling his dice soon!!

    5. Raynaud (@)
      10th May 2021, 9:50

      Such a shame Russel stayed in the Mercedes trap instead of joining the Red Bull and fight with Max the dominance that most of us don’t like anymore. Got the feeling that the RB is just a little bit faster than the Ferrari/Mclaren but with Max it shows that it could fight Mercedes, what in reality is not the case. I really hope that Perez could catch up. Not for Red Bull only, but also for the fans that want to see more tension at the top of the pack.

      1. What makes you think Marko would have put Russell in the second Red Bull? No way they want to destabilise the boat, simply to get a driver good enough, but not on par with Verstappen

        1. They’ve never had an issue with two strong drivers before, they’ve just had a lull in talent from their younger guys in recent history.

          No reason to think that would put them off George

        2. Red Bull wants to win as brand so why not? In December Helmut and Christian wanted Russell in their team. Sergio was second option. And rather ‘destabilize the boat’ and win the championship then be second year after year.

        3. Yup, #2 driver 20secs behind leading Merc @ every pitstop window is my guess at RB’s dream.

      2. Got the feeling that the RB is just a little bit faster than the Ferrari/Mclaren but with Max it shows that it could fight Mercedes, what in reality is not the case.

        I got the feeling that the Mercedes is just a little bit faster than the Ferrari/McLaren but with Lewis it shows that it could fight RB, what in reality is not the case.

        I hope you see how that argument cuts both ways.

        1. I know, it’s just my feeling 😉

      3. Drivers don’t make the cars faster, but some drivers are able to get more out of a car than other drivers. Some cars are just more difficult to drive than others.

        However, one has to wonder what else is playing a role at Red Bull since they’ve had trouble fielding two decent driver/car combos since Ricciardo left. There’s no doubt Verstappen is very handy behind the wheel, but even the most successful F1 drivers have had their fair share of races where their teammates just do better. Not so at Red Bull.

        1. maybe Red Bull should contemplate that while their car is fast only Max seems to be able to drive it quickly. if Red Bull wants more constructors points from their 2nd driver, maybe find setup or design choices for the car that enables max _and_ the 2nd driver to be quick. i’m so tired of reading this nonsense from Horner.

        2. Perez outqualified verstappen in his 2nd race.

      4. Red Bull snapping up Russel next year would be hilarious.

    6. Hm, the question remains though, could Red Bull have gotten Perez past Ricciardo with an undercut like Mercedes did with Bottas to get past Leclerc? Going a few laps longer did not work for him as he still dropped back behind the McLaren after his pitstop.
      Alternately maybe they could have tried to go as long as leclerc? But did they have the pace on those tyres after running in traffic.

      Sure, Perez would have still been behind Leclerc at that point, and I don’t know whether they had the tyres to do it, but it was pretty clear that it was almost impossible to pass on the same tyre strategy as the car ahead of you yesterday.

    7. Completely agree on this. I think Mercedes had the slightly better package this weekend but Vestappen had track position by the end of the first corner. So that set up a very interesting and quite equal contest. However, Hamilton had a strategic option which Verstappen lacked and that ultimately won Hamilton the race. Whether Hamilton would still have won if Perez had been relevant strategically is debatable, however, that more challenging situation for Hamilton never played out because the lack of Perez left an easier option available.

    8. Well if Perez doesn’t work out I know a reliable No 2 that will be looking for a job next year.

      1. And indeed a good choice that will be.
        Now Bottas is exactly what Mercedes needs. He collects the occasional pole, is always close to Max and is a great wingman.
        I am not sure if a pairing with george is good for Lewis next title.
        He will take points away.

    9. I’m confident he’ll be in the mix regularly further into the season, but what if he fails at this? Would RB let him go after this season, and if so, who next alongside Max if not a driver who’s already lost a seat because of underperforming (Gasly, Albon)? Tsunoda would be better off staying at AT for at least another season, so in this case, RB would again have to hire an outsider. Nevertheless, I’m not yet worried about Checo.

      1. there’s no one else, they’ve tried bringing from their academy and hasn’t worked, they now tried with Checo’s experience and seems to not yet make any real difference…

        Maybe try to bring Danny Ric back? That would have been so great to see the aussie in a highly competitive RedBull around Monaco.

        1. @gechichan I doubt, he’d leave prematurely from his three-year Mclaren contract.

          1. I suspect that no amount of money (within reason) would tempt him at the moment.
            Midway through next season when the pecking order’s known is when I imagine he might think about it.

        2. Imagine if Riccardo had remained a Red Bull driver. He would easily be in the mix strategically currently and would probably finish ahead of Hamilton on occasions. Admittedly, that needs balancing again the possibility that he takes wins of Verstappen, but I think it would be preferable to this situation.

        3. That is because RB is focussing on the wrong thing. Its not Albon, its not Gasly, its not Perez. The car is not good enough. Max simply extracts more to a level everyone is fooled into thinking it is on par with Mercedes. They need to build a better car to solve their problem, not burning through drivers.

          1. Given verstappen’s crazy talent I’d be more inclined to believe this and that mercedes has some 2 tenths advantage on red bull rather than the cars are even and hamilton makes the difference, he’s 36 years old!

            1. 36 years old – so what?

            2. Doesn’t let me reply to you, Emma, but age-related decline starts at 35, I have a hard time seeing hamilton being faster than an equally talented verstappen at 23 as a 36 years old, and considering we don’t know how much comes from the driver and how much from the car, to me it sounds plausible mercedes is a little faster.

            3. @esploratore you are repeatedly making the assertion that “age-related decline starts at 35”, but not explaining where you have got that figure from or explaining why there is absolutely no variance on your figure (i.e. that it absolutely has to be 35, rather than a more likely scenario where that is potentially a statistical best fit value within a potential range of values).

              Where have you pulled this figure of 35 years old from, and why are you taking it as such an absolute value? There have been other drivers in F1 who have raced into their late 30s and not shown the sort of instantaneous decline at 35 you suggest they should.

              In fact, you yourself have talked about how great Michael Schumacher’s performances were during his time at Ferrari – and, interestingly, you have heaped praise on him for performances and talked up how competitive Michael was in 2006 at Ferrari, even though he was even older back then than Hamilton is now (Schumacher being 37 in 2006).

              It seems a bit odd that you don’t seem to have a problem with the idea that a 37 year old Schumacher was not suffering from age related decline and was capable of matching a 24 year old Alonso for ability, but then state that a driver a year younger must be suffering from an age related decline.

            4. Emma – that’s because no one except Kimi has a clean record of yellow or red cards, that’s what!

          2. Here you go again with magical Max doing magical things with the “slow” RB car. He’s just delivering what car can do and the 2nd driver isn’t able to. That is all.

            1. You mean: and 4 of the 2nd drivers aren’t able to (RIC, GAS, ALB, PER)?

        4. “not yet made a real difference”

          I can’t remember Gasly or Albon ever qualifying in front of Max just like Checo did in only his second race for the team.

          Give him some time. If a very talented guy like Gasly struggled so much you can’t expect anyone to just hop in the car and nail it right away!

          1. hardly any testing this year..

    10. F1oSaurus (@)
      10th May 2021, 11:18

      So Bottas did make a stop with no free gap behind and ended up behind Leclerc. Was his race totally ruined because of that? No of course it wasn’t. Even Bottas who isn’t that good at overtaking simply drove past Leclerc on his much fresher softs versus Leclerc on very worn mediums. We saw the same happen when Hamilton simply drove past Perez in Portugal.

      It’s preposterous to blame Perez for Hamilton beating Verstappen. Really just ridiculous to what extent Horner goes throwing everything and everyone under the bus instead of facing up to the fact that Verstappen has just not been good enough to beat Hamilton since the start of the season. The pace is there, but Verstappen just hasn’t been able to make it all come together like Hamilton can.

      Apart from Verstappen, the strategists need to feel the shame. Verstappen clearly warned them the tyres wouldn’t last till the end of the race. So another stop was definitely going to be needed. Yet, they not only failed to prepare for a 2-stop race upfront to leave themselves more options, they also failed to cover the undercut from Hamilton with what they had or even to come in the next lap and at least try to keep the position. Instead they just sat like a deer in headlights and, indeed from that point onwards inevitably, let Hamilton show them again how it’s done.

      1. There’s 2 things that can be blamed for losing this race, one is strategy, could’ve tried to pit the lap after, or maybe when they noticed hamilton was catching up too fast, to try the reverse, or the car for being a bit slower than merc, which is absolutely true, but not verstappen, he did what he had to and it wasn’t possible to do more with this car and strategy.

      2. petebaldwin (@)
        10th May 2021, 15:25

        It’s equally preposterous to blame Verstappen. The Red Bull is no where near as fast as the Mercedes on the medium tyres. On the softs, it’s very quick – possibly faster than the Mercedes even but it just can’t get the grip out of the mediums that the Mercedes can.

        If they’d have pitted Verstappen, Hamilton would have stayed out and on medium tyres, Verstappen wouldn’t have caught him anywhere near as quickly.

        1. F1oSaurus (@)
          11th May 2021, 7:08

          @petebaldwin So on the softs Verstappen was quick and actualy had a chance to overtake Hamilton if he hadn;t come out in front even.

          Besides that, Verstappen made the pitstop error and he should be better at managing his tyres in general.

    11. Adam (@rocketpanda)
      10th May 2021, 12:11

      Is it time for us to actually admit the problem wasn’t Gasly or Albon then? I mean if Perez, known for consistency and getting the most out of a weak package is struggling in a nearly identical way to his rookie predecessors that seriously suggests to me that the problem more a Red Bull issue than a driver issue, and that both Gasly & Albon were treated deeply unfairly.

      1. But what is the problem then? Is Max just too good? Is the car so hard to drive only Max can do that?

        1. The car is the issue. Having said that, RB still delivers better than everyone else except Mercedes. So maybe the problem is that Mercedes is just too good. Back to RB driver line-up: stop burning drivers, its not their fault. The car is not good enough. Max just gets more out of it so they think thats the level of the car. It is not. If you put Max in the Mercedes you would have to replace Hamilton end of the season (ok, that is too much of a joke, stretching it sorry.. Lewis and Max are just on another level – Charles probably too)

          1. Ahhh… yes, Max out qualified a Mercedes by 0.4s in one race, because he simply “gets more out of it so they think thats the level of the car”.

            What an amazing counter factual rendition.

            Never mind that Perez, a driver not known for his qualifying abilities, managed to get within 0.035s of the almighty Mercedes and superhuman Lewis Hamilton in another race.

            Then we have Max who was able to follow Lewis Hamilton quite closely for some laps in Bahrain before botching the overtake – but not because his car was faster though. However, when Lewis does the same thing (Spain), it is clearly because the Mercedes is miles faster.

            So, I want to ask a serious question – how on earth do you guys sleep at night? The cognitive dissonance must keep you awake all night.

            1. @kbdavies There are no points for qualification. Comparing cars on their quali lap and extrapolating this to the overall performance of the car is useless and certainly does not translate into WCC points. I bet you predict the outcome of a race based on the grid positions rather than the long run pace in FP2, don’t you? Sunday race pace determines the dominance of a car and whether you win. 4 of Max team mates got nowhere near the Mercedes race pace, just Max occasionally does. I am really tired (and quite amazed) of the lack of knowledge some people have. At least display the courtesy to stay polite.

      2. Honestly gasly and albon on red bull were downright terrible, perez is a bit better at least, I understand red bull is a hard car to drive and not many can drive around issues (guessing russel could), a bit like benetton at schumacher times, where his team mates were more than 1 second off on what was a championship contending car, so perez isn’t lacking that much to do what bottas does, he could get there, but I will not make any excuse for the previous 2 drivers, they were too far off the pace most races.

      3. @rocketpanda No it is not time. Perez deserves more time, and will get it of course, and will only gain more confidence. That is a simple fact of F1 and drivers new to teams. To already be trying to compare SP to AA and PG is unrealistic, not just because of this only being SP’s fourth race. By all accounts PG simply wasn’t ready for a top team. Let’s keep in mind the details we likely don’t know relating to his potential to help advance the car and the team. Let’s remember that DR left them hanging when it was he there were really wanting to retain.

        With AA he similarly had little experience, but he also had longer to prove himself and didn’t do enough. At least he had a half season before having a pre-season and then a full season for RBR to assess him, and again, let’s keep in mind all the inside nuances we don’t know about that likely would relate not just to performance on the track, but his input in helping progress the car.

        I think there is no reason whatsoever to put Perez in the same category as AA and PG, as he has more experience, and sure now has a better car than PG and AA had, but is also already pointing it towards the top 4 where it belongs, in just four races. Of course nobody expects SP to suddenly be an LH or a Max, but I see nothing, all things considered, especially his short tenure on the team so far, to indicate he won’t only improve as the season goes along.

        1. Adam (@rocketpanda)
          10th May 2021, 15:47

          I don’t think anyone expected Perez to be on the pace of Hamilton or Verstappen but they did expect him to dependably stick it directly behind Verstappen’s Red Bull, or at the very least gravitate close to the top three to eliminate Mercedes punishing Red Bull via strategy and so far he hasn’t done that.

          Gasly and Albon were thrown in the deep end, Albon especially given their lack of experience and so some of the deficit can be attributed to that. But Perez is very experienced, consistent and very dependable and so far he’s not doing the one thing he was brought in for. Granted its early days, and in time as he gets more used to the car we may see that pay off but *right now* is when they need him to be doing that, not in 4-5 races time when the championship gap is so large any benefit of him doing it is irrelevant.

          1. @rocketpanda Fair enough but it is like you are tossing the coin and expecting it to land on both sides. If it is early days and he in fairness needs more time, which is simply a fact of F1, then it is not like he or anyone else can just snap their fingers and make it happen ‘right now.’

            I think of it this way too…in the last two seasons with PG and then AA, the car was a lone second place car, and those two drivers being more up there more often were still not going to help Max much. Oh perhaps he would have gotten second in the WDC off VB, but he (Max) didn’t care about. Now that for four races RBR is much closer to Mercedes, yes, now they need Max’s teammate to be closer more than they have in a long time. But there is little else they can do but a) support SP with everything they have, which of course they are doing and/or b) get faster so that Max can just drive his way out of needing SP’s support. Max has implied that is his preferred option. Of course in some races and circumstances like yesterday it worked out that SP could have been of more help, but it’s not for lack of trying and one doesn’t just snap one’s fingers and make it happen, or imho F1 is too easy. Case in point, VB still lagging after 5 seasons in the WCC car.

            It is what it is, and as always it is a day at a time, a session at a time, a race at a time, and they all do their best and let the chips fall where they may. I’m not sure who better was available to take that slot beside Max, so now they just work their situation and give it their best. I’m sure nobody is more aware of the situation than Perez himself, and as is often the case with these drivers he is likely being his own biggest critic and is more eager than anyone to get up on the wheel and show the team and himself what he can do.

      4. @rocketpanda Unfairly yes, and Gasly even more so, considering he didn’t get as much help & support as Albon in the same situation.

    12. Take a trained Hülkenberg, place him into the cockpit and he will be able to drive the car.

      1. I agree with you. For some reason, Hulkenberg looks like the kind of driver that might bet able to extract more pace out of the Red bull than Perez. If you take his podium jinx aside, he was every bit as good as Sergio, if not better.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          10th May 2021, 15:21

          Better perhaps but good enough to put pressure on Hamilton in a faster car? I don’t personally think so.

          1. @petebaldwin

            I guess it’s entire subjective.. but the Hulk seemed more consistent and versatile. I just couldn’t see him finishing behind other modified drivers in a Red Bull. He seems more like the driver who would step it up in the Red Bull environment, as compared to Perez, who has failed to step it up when he was previously given a drive in a team that expected a whole lot more from their drivers.

            1. *midfield drivers

        2. I think Hulkenberg would be better than Perez, they don’t need someone to get podiums they need someone who can put in a fast lap, and keep up. Checo is amazing but traditionally not a great qualifyer and his single lap pace isn’t amazing. His skill is making tyres last but that doesn’t necessarily go with a fast single lap pace. The Hulk is better at that. Max initially wanted the Hulk.

        3. “looks like the kind of driver that might bet able to extract more pace”

          We said that about Checo only 2 months ago and I still believe he will deliver, given time!

      2. @d0senbrot I admit that I’ve been watching F1 fairly recently (2015) but in all the races that I’ve watched Hulkenberg was average at best. So, why is there so much hype around him especially after he was booted off? What am I missing?

        1. I’ve been watching since 1980 and dont get the point either. I guess his the sympathy they have for him rubs off on his skills

      3. @d0senbrot @todfod
        One possible problem would be rustiness risk, although he got up to speed pretty fast on his temporary outings last season.

        1. @jerejj

          He qualified in P3 with just one day’s practice in the car. That was mighty impressive

          1. @todfod

            Exactly! Although it was his second weekend in the car at the same track. But nevertheless, very impressive.

          2. That said more about how good that car was and how the regular drivers were so poor in it. How did bus race go though as that’s where Hulk ALWAYS bottles it. He had a decade to prove his worth in the sport and didn’t. Waste of a Good seat for new talent employing him.

      4. A short view back to the future @d0senbrot

    13. All this talk of strategy, lol.

      1.5~ seconds a lap faster… you could almost hear Mercedes ripping the sandbags off the car.

      There’s nothing Redbull can do beyond the obvious… enrich the AFR on Max’s car, lean out Perez (so the average consumption remains the same and the FIA turn a blind eye) and then act surprised when Perez can’t keep up.

      1. So, you’ve decided to completely ignore the RB’s FLAP on softs being over 2 sec to FLAP on Merc’s medium. Tire compound delta surely doesn’t account for it. So what else could it be, I wonder.

        1. Making reference to single lap, red tyre, low fuel lap times doesnt make any sense. A race lasts way way longer. The FL is by no means representative for the actual race pace that makes you win a race. Just look at the Alpine cars.

    14. petebaldwin (@)
      10th May 2021, 15:19

      Checo is a good midfield driver – that’s his level. If you put a good midfield driver and it always has been. If you put a driver like him up against a Hamilton or Verstappen, they are going to struggle. The Mercedes is faster than the Red Bull and it allows Bottas to be closer to the front than Perez is but otherwise, I don’t think there’s much of a gap in performance between the two of them. Perhaps once Perez gets more used to the team, he’ll find a bit more pace but I don’t think he’ll find enough to consistently cause a problem to Hamilton the same as Bottas rarely causes Max any worries.

      There’s always a lot of talk about Mercedes using Bottas on an alternate strategy to put pressure on Red Bull but it’s rarely the case that he can keep up with Max.

      1. @petebaldwin

        Bottas does cause Max some problems. Max had to really fight with Bottas for that P2 spot in Portimao.

        1. Go get AF da Costa to RBR. You will see what hapens to MAX!

    15. After four rounds in that Red Bull seat

      2018 Ricciardo – 4th, DNF, 1st, DNF
      2019 Gasly – 11th, 8th, 6th, DNF
      2020 Albon – 13th, 4th, 5th, 8th
      2021 Perez – 5th, 11th, 4th, 5th

      He’s getting there, and he has probably been the most consistent. Qualifying will come together, and with Monaco next, typically a RB track, it’s a good chance for his first podium.

      1. I disagree with the last phrase, I was thinking yesterday that if I could pick a driver for a race between perez and bottas for monaco I’d pick bottas, why? Cause he’s consistently good in qualifying, perez is generally bad there and monaco is basically the only track where overtaking is a miracle even with drs.

      2. Lorrydriver1
        11th May 2021, 18:30

        The question is where was Max in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 in comparison? Max led each of the races in 2021 so Perez is underperforming against all of them..

    16. The problem is, Perez has never been a great qualifier. He has been beaten in qualifying by every single teammate he has ever had – and NONE of them were great qualifiers either.

      When you look at Perez’s actual race pace in clean air, it actually close to, or matches Max’s a lot of the time. The problem is, because he starts so far back and out of position, he gets caught up in the midfield which then costs him time.

      But Horner knew about this lack of qualifying pace when they hired him. They refuse to hire PROPER drivers who can challenge Max, and only want those who will play supporting role.

      Can you imagine Red Bull hiring a driver like Rosberg, Alonso, or even Bottas, to partner Verstappen??

      When Red Bull had Riccardo, he regularly challenged Verstappen for pole and race wins, but Red Bull didn’t like it, and essentially forced him out.

      They are now paying the price for their foolish Maxcentric strategy.

      1. JackFlash67
        11th May 2021, 3:35


      2. @kbdavies Red Bull had had that problem since 09. If you have a team who is fighting with wins and championships with two drivers who think they will win it will cause issues. You could say that it has happened throughout history. Pro/Arn, Vil/Pir, Sen/Pro, Alo/Ham, Vet/Web, Ham/Ros. Unless you have Barrichello or Bottas it is tricky and it’s even trickier to draw a line between a fast n.2 driver and someone who is not too rapid.

      3. Yes, if I was Horner I also wouldnt want a second good driver either. Before you know it you might win the WCC. And thats not what RedBull is here for.

    17. I bet Red Bull is ruing snubbing Alonso, and not playing fair with Ricciardo (although he might have left to protect his reputation anyway).

      But it’s obvious how their car is more difficult to drive compared to the Mercedes. I don’t see Russell jumping in it and being on the pace as he was in the Mercedes.

    18. Red Bull “desperately need” Perez to put pressure on Mercedes – Horner

      Red Bull “desperately need” Albon to put pressure on Mercedes – Horner

      Red Bull “desperately need” Gasly to put pressure on Mercedes – Horner

      And so it begins again…

      1. @tommy-c Were they actually saying that with AA and PG? Actually ‘desperate?’ I wouldn’t think so given that they were clearly on their own in second in the WCC, unable to do anything about Mercedes, and nobody else near them either in 2019 and 2020. Of course they wanted AA and PG up there closer to Max, showing progression such that perhaps they could have been in the seat for this time of the car being better, but even being further up there was little they were going to be able to do to help Max strategy wise when LH was just walking away up front in the last two seasons.

        It makes sense that they are now ‘desperate’ because finally the car is close to Mercedes and it is looking like it may come down to at which track, unless of course we are now seeing that Mercedes is about to dominate again.

        1. Specifically no. But the narrative is the same. The 2nd driver is underperforming.

    19. Even when being a Red Bull driver means a lot of pressure to handle, i think this isn´t the main problem Perez is facing, he drove the same car (and its evolutions) for six years and get too used to that driving style, he’s finding really hard to break away from that muscle memory, in the other hand you have Verstappen (a super talented driver) who´s being driving the same car for 4 years and he is very used to drive it… So the pressure is an issue yes… but the main problem is his capability to reset his driving style

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