F1 team mate battles at mid-season: Verstappen vs Perez

2021 F1 season

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At the end of last season Sergio Perez stepped up to tackle the unenviable task of being team mate to one of the hottest talents in Formula 1 today.

Halfway through his first campaign for Red Bull, is the latest driver to drop into the hot seat alongside Max Verstappen measuring up more favourably than his immediate predecessors?

Some of the raw numbers look encouraging. For example, Perez is only one point off Alexander Albon’s tally for the whole of last season. However, that campaign was only six races longer than the 11 rounds we’ve had so far, and Albon had a less competitive car on his hands.

Over a comparable, 12-race stretch at the beginning of 2019 Pierre Gasly scored 61 points versus Perez’s tally of 104 today. But again, Gasly didn’t have a car as quick as Perez’s and the opposition was stronger.

Verstappen is putting Perez in the shade in much the same way he did to his two previous team mates. He’s 10-1 up in qualifying, Perez having snuck a ‘win’ over him at Imola, though he’s seldom come close to doing so again since. Perez has only been classified ahead of his team mate once, at Baku, where Verstappen ‘finished’ 18th after his tyre failure.

In terms of one-lap pace, Perez has been slightly closer to Verstappen, though not by much. While Albon only got within three-tenths of Verstappen in qualifying once last year, Perez has done so twice, as well as beating him in Imola. But the gap isn’t trending in the right direction for Perez – he’s been over half a second behind in the last two races, though that wasn’t helped by missing his final run in Q3 last time out.

It’s on race day that Perez is proving his worth more frequently than Albon and Gasly. He has at least been close enough to Verstappen to aid his team mate’s fight for victory, as happened in France, and put in competitive showing at several other rounds.

But while the matter of who Mercedes will choose to partner Lewis Hamilton next season has prompted significant debate, Red Bull face the same question as far as their leading driver is concerned. Perez has not yet demonstrated beyond doubt that Red Bull need look no further.

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Max Verstappen vs Sergio Perez: Key stats

Max Verstappen vs Sergio Perez: Who finished ahead at each round

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Max VerstappenQ
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Sergio PerezQ
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Max Verstappen vs Sergio Perez: Qualifying gap

Times based on the last qualifying round at each race weekend in which both drivers set a time. Negative indicates Max Verstappen was faster, positive means Sergio Perez was faster

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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...

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124 comments on “F1 team mate battles at mid-season: Verstappen vs Perez”

  1. Put Gasly back in the car.

    1. So we can throw him out of it again. He’s the same as he was. 100%.

      1. Jup, put Russell in the car

        1. This is the real answer, red bull needs to be decisive: threaten to get russell, if merc don’t promote him, get him indeed.

          1. they should go for Alonso. Clearly have more than it takes to drive that thing.

          2. Red Bull allready had contact with George but he has a 10 year contract with Toto. Maybe if Mercedes keep Bottas George can break that contract i think Red Bull will love to add George.

    2. Not so fast,

      Let see the same comparison data against Gasly/Verstappen in the same car. Those are much more relevant numbers compared to comparing Gasly/Perez numbers generated in different seasons and different cars.

      Also would be good to see Albon’s data as well to give a better of idea of what the base numbers are.

      For sure, Verstappen is not the typical good F1 driver; he’s better than that and RB trying to find another driver to match his performance in a car suits him the best is a very tall order and perhaps unrealistic. If Perez does improves his performance (some), Can RB guarantee that Gasly would do better than Perez?

    3. It would have been a good way of getting rid of Gasly.
      On the other side next years cars may not suit Max as well as these do and Perez may end up looking good.

      1. @peartree

        “On the other side next years cars may not suit Max as well as these do and Perez may end up looking good.”

        Very good point, I’m betting the drivers not doing well this season like Perez, Ricciardo and couple of others are hoping they can survive the season and next years drive suits them more. The biggest one to see is how Verstappen does in the 2022 car and if they made the car to suit his style and the No.2 driver will have to keep up?

        The more and more I hear Helmut Marko speak, the more he comes across as a total piece of work and him & Bernie are like two old peas in a pod.

        1. You just need to see VER’s Hungary drive to understand its not due to a car being built around him…

      2. There is no such thing. Great drivers will extract the maximum out of a sub par car. Ref the RB right now.

  2. They’re repeating the “Vettel-Webber formula”, and it seems to work, although Checo must improve his qualifying pace

    1. Webber was far more competitive against Vettel than Perez is against Max. Honestly, Ricciardo and Max looked more like a Vettel-Webber pairing.

      1. That’s an interesting one as I really think Ricciardo is much closer to Max’s level than Webber was to Vettel’s..

      2. True, but its too early to fully judge. Webber was driving for Red Bull 2 full seasons before Vettel joined the team, so he was fully bedded into the team and had a good say on car development. Checo is coming in from the outside had little to no input on car development and is still in the adaption phase, like it or not….

        I’m pretty confident Checo will be much stronger in the second half of the season and if given a chance I would expect him to take another step up next year.

      3. @todfod I don’t think this is being particularly fair on Ricciardo. Was he a level below Max? Certainly, but not to the degree of Webber. If Red Bull had produced a dominant car, could I see Max winning 13 races with Ricciardo not winning any? Not really. Max and Ricciardo were probably more like Vettel and Webber if you purely take the 2009 and 2010 seasons into account.

        1. I think ric was just as good in 2018…look at the stats.
          Poles – ric 2 max 0
          Wins – ric 2 max 2
          Dnfs – ric 8 max 4
          The dnfs are what made it seem like max was a level above.

          1. @Matt
            Ricciardo was ahead on track in just three out of 21 races in 2018…there’s more to racing than just poles and wins. 2017…. Ricciardo ahead in 5 out of 20 races.

        2. @mashiat

          If you think about it.. Webber was really competitive against Vettel for most of 2009, 2010 and 2012. The same way Ricciardo was competitive against Max in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
          You’re right.. Webber was far off Vettel in 2011 and 2013, but who’s to say how Dan would have faired if he stuck around for a season or two more. By the end of 2018 Max was dominating Ricciardo. The max and Dan pairing never had a dominant car either.. So we don’t know how they would stack up in a title fight.
          My point is that Red bull knew the team was prioritising one driver in both cases and the 2nd driver was pretty competitive as well. That has not been the case when Gasly, albon and Perez are around.

        3. I agree, mashiat, ricciardo was competitive with verstappen at red bull, not as good once verstappen got some exp but beating him way more often than perez and the likes.

      4. true and i had hopped they would keep the 2 for another season. That combination was good although they fought a lot than helping one another .anyway what is a race if not competing.

  3. Serious?

    being team mate to one of the hottest talents in Formula 1 today.

    Still a talent then.. Poor max

    1. So even when offering a compliment to Max by commenting favourably on his ability, it is still not good enough for you?

      What sort of strange world do we now live in where we now have people like you complaining that even a positive comment about Max is inadequate praise?

      1. This was my thought exactly! :p
        They clearly complimented Max and all things aside, there is not one single person in this world that can deny just how talented Max is in an F1 Car.

        Reply moderated
      2. Well I guess it’s no biggy, it just reflects very well that some haven’t moved on from 17/18 old Max,h ence unrightfully labelling his driving as aggressive. It’s all part of a narrative that can be seen as off track tactics. Some of us would rather see the fighting done on track (hence the Lewis criticism) like with most sports

        1. That would include his own team then, given that Horner himself was praising Max for aggressive behaviour earlier this season?

          1. Aggression in taking his options to pass another driver. Nothing wrong with that.

          2. erijke, explain that to the poster who clearly thinks it is a problem.

      3. @anon That would be the world where you feel the exact same when it comes to Hamilton

        1. Get lost – if all you are trying to do is to wrongly throw the “it is easier for me to say you must be a fan, so therefore I can ignore you because I don’t have to think about the argument or risk questioning myself” ploy, then all it shows is that you don’t have an answer and don’t want to admit it.

          You have already tried that pathetic tactic before, accusing me of being a fan of other drivers you liked to criticise in the past.

    2. I was wondering how long it would take someone to slam this positive description of Verstappen as being an insult. Not long.

      1. Compare the number of racewins by max with some of the other “talents” with lesser wins…

        20 HILL Graham 14 8.00
        21 BRABHAM Jack 14 11.38
        22 FITTIPALDI Emerson 14 9.72
        23 ASCARI Alberto 13 40.63
        24 COULTHARD David 13 5.28
        25 ANDRETTI Mario 12 9.38
        26 REUTEMANN Carlos 12 8.22
        27 JONES Alan 12 10.34
        28 VILLENEUVE Jacques 11 6.75
        29 MASSA Felipe 11 4.09
        30 BARRICHELLO Rubens 11 3.41
        31 HUNT James 10 10.87
        32 PETERSON Ronnie 10 8.13

        1. Yes, I would definitely call all those people talents, as they fit most commonly used definitions of the word:

          n. A marked innate ability, as for artistic accomplishment.
          n. Natural endowment or ability of a superior quality.

          Are you saying it’s insulting for Verstappen to be compared to Graham Hill or Emerson Fittipaldi? We know the guy’s good, but come on…

          1. Would it be better to compare the greats with some kind of average seeing as though there were half a dozen races back in the 50’s unlike today with 14558236273434927833 races per season?

          2. Absolutely, and don’t forget there’s ascari in there, I know he died early and there were few races back then, but being compared to ascari means being put in a top 10 list of all times, which is probably fair, if hamilton fits there and verstappen is hamilton level minimum.

        2. Compare Max with some of the ‘talents’ who have had a better ‘win ratio’ than Max has.

          Tony Brooks. Giuseppe Farina. Bill Vucovich. Luigi Fagioli. Lee Wallard. Troy Rutmann.

          And that’s as meaningless as yours.

          Reply moderated
        3. Comprehension isn’t one of your talents for sure.

          1. Mrs ad hominem is back.

          2. A little rich coming from one as biased towards Hamilton as you are

        4. Interesting names, of those I would say only ascari was as good as verstappen (which is saying a lot cause the other italian “talents”…), a few were proper number 2 drivers, a few were overrated multiple champions, and I see at least a driver that could’ve been a champion (like rosberg) but didn’t make it.

          1. In fact, 3 of the last category.

        5. Let’s take a look at Hill. Max has almost the same number of races and no championships. Hill 2. What are you on about?

    3. In the English language, “Talent” has a different meaning than it has in other languages, like in Dutch. Especially as it relates to the “timespan”.
      In Dutch, a talent is only a talent as long as the person has not arrived in the majors yet.
      In English, a talent is someone who has great aptitude to do/perform something. A telent never ends being a talent.

      So… write this one down to “Lost in translation”.

      1. @euitdebos – That’s fascinating. Thanks for that; it’s always interesting to see the subtle differences in language. I hope erikje is paying attention here.

    4. talent
      [ tal-uhnt ]SHOW IPA
      See synonyms for: talent / talents on Thesaurus.com
      noun
      a special natural ability or aptitude
      a capacity for achievement or success; ability
      a talented person

      1. Watch his race craft, watch his passes and watch the way he sets a flying lap. Also watch his battles against Seb, Ham, Ric, Lec, Rai, Bot, Sai, Alo and Rosberg (Brazil 2016 comes to mind). [spoiler alert : there are 15 driver championships in that list]

        Think of his age and how he is always punching above his weight against those far ore experienced than him, sometimes in the same machinery.

        Learn about the hard time he gets in his personal lie , especially from his father.

        Try to find out the dangers of working and proving yourself for RBR, Helmut, Horner and Newey.

        Study about the level of competition of the sport and the technical and sporting history of formula 1 and all single seater racing in general.

        And then, my friends, we can talk about Max’s talent, abilities, skills or whatsoever.

    5. As MAx is still one of the youngest drivers i can see they say that.

      1. Also Erikje it could be that the translation has a different meaning of the word Talent like @euitdebos said. I see there is a little difference….

  4. For me it underlines that Red Bull still isn’t particularly good at handling their second driver

    1. To me it underlines how poor of a car RedBull has built

      1. So poor it has been the best car at several events this year?

        1. You mean one of the two guys (whom we deem a talent) got some occasional result from the car? If the car is so great then where is Perez?

      2. The car is great but I suspect there’s elements of what happens in MotoGP for Marc Marques where all the focus is on one rider (or driver in this case) and everyone else on/in the same equipment can fend for themselves.

        1. Yes, sure. Since RB doesnt want to win the WCC

        2. Bottom line is that Newey is just not good enough. The car hasnt been good for a decade now. But from another perspective it is a better car than the other 8. So understandably RB keep working with him.

      3. Or perhaps years of swapping out the 2nd driver has led them to built a car around Max’s driving style and Perez has to change his style to make it work while still not lose any speed.

        1. You may not be wrong.

        2. this is exactly it. Same thing with Fisichella in Renault.
          Good drivers adapt to a different car, average ones can’t do that and try to change the car instead. And the team won’t do that.

          And Perez is average as average gets.

        3. Yes, this is the right answer, and fisichella is indeed a good example, probably also frentzen, he underperformed the one year he got the best car.

        4. Nobody builds a car around VER driving style. For one Adrian certainly won’t compromise any design for it as they aim to win the WCC, not just the WDC which is significantly less important to a team. And secondly there is no Verstappen driving style. If there ever was such thing the description that would come close is that he adapts to whatever you throw at him. Thats why he is good. Thats why he can SIM race and switch between cars whereas some of his peers admitted they could never do it because of losing feeling with their F1 car.

          1. Every single word you said there is wrong.

          2. Thanks for the constructive feedback Edvaldo

          3. He manages to get half a car into the points at Hungary. Also, VER used to be a late breaker, now he is an early breaker. It just shows how he adapts to suit the car.

    2. Or maybe Max is just that much better than Perez

  5. Perez and Bottas have the hardest and most thankless jobs in F1, the fact they are willing to do them shows how strong they both are mentally.

    If they win/beat their team mates, they face a barrage of “well you should be winning in that car so its nothing special” type comments, and if they get spanked by their team mates they face a barrage of “you are terrible put Driver X into that car” type comments.

    1. @geemac
      They drive a championship winning car.. and are in contention to win the championship from race 1. Yet, they end up far away from their superstar teammates. In fact, Perez and Bottas are proof that great drivers make a big difference in the cockpit, and F1 is not just about the machine you drive.

      I do agree that they receive flak for their performances when they get soundly beaten by their teammates, but let’s face it.. they’ve both gotten a chance to drive a championship winning car despite not being among the top 4 drivers on the grid in terms of performance. They’ve been gifted an opportunity.. they signed up for the opportunity… so when you get beaten and get flak for it..it’s just a part of your job.

      If they didn’t want the flak .. they both should have stayed in midfield teams.

      1. Yes, it makes sense that hamilton and verstappen still show a considerable difference by the driver in a car-dominated sport, because bottas and perez were highly rated before joining top teams. Keep in mind perez (unfairly) didn’t have the chance to remain in a midfield team, but in any case he was getting old and it was now or never to get a shot at a top team, he tried, doesn’t seem ricciardo level, at least now we know for sure he didn’t just get unlucky with never getting a top car, he’s simply not a top driver.

        1. @esploratore1

          at least now we know for sure he didn’t just get unlucky with never getting a top car, he’s simply not a top driver.

          Surely no one still thought Perez was a top driver after his 2013 season with McLaren.
          I’m reasonably sure that McLaren expected that at the time, and only signed him because he was available when Hamilton unexpectedly signed for Mercedes.
          However, Perez has always brought sponsorship with him, which is why he’s lasted this long in F1.

          1. @nvherman

            Regardless of the sponsorship, he was a solid and consistent midfield driver… in fact one who could pull off extraordinary drives in mere ordinary cars. I think his place on the grid was always justified on talent.. But at the pointy end of the grid, he just couldn’t step it up and deliver. He’s a great midfield driver but a poor championship contender.
            It’s a shame the Hulk never got a chance at a top team. I reckon he would do better than Perez if placed in a faster car.

    2. @geemac You’ve mentioned the two extremes, but if either was able to be consistently reasonably close to their team-mate (i.e. somewhere in between) then they would probably be considered pretty much perfect team-mates, so in that sense they don’t have to be able to beat the hot-shots just get somewhere close. Indeed there have been times when Bottas has actually performed that well but maybe not quite consistently enough and with no sign of an improving trajectory.

      There is a slight difference in that Mercedes ideally needed a younger second driver who could take the lead when Lewis moves on whereas Perez is really only there for the support role as Max is both their young and experienced driver. So arguably Bottas is doing a worse job compared to what is needed from him by the team than Perez is even if the actual performance of the two is comparable.

      1. Definitely agree with the first part. I thought Bottas was doing pretty well in 2017 up until the half point of the season. He actually looked like he was a good supporting driver for 2017 and might be able to give Hamilton a good run for his money the next year once he had adapted to the new environment (especially as he was brought in later than normal because of Rosberg leaving). But it became clear the next year that the latter was not, and would not, be the case. So in that way I agree with @todfod in that he deserves the critique he is getting.

        1. Well bottas has helped Merc win championships and he finished 2nd in the championship in 2020 and 2019…and is doing a better job than Perez this season,eventhough bottas has more dnfs…so what more do you expect from him?

          1. Bottas almost failed at finishing 2nd in 2020 in a dominant car, that’s inexcusable imo.

  6. I was 100% behind Red Bull bringing in Sergio Perez, because I thought he would be a steady and consistent No.2 to Max Verstappen. Unfortunately, I’ve been left a little disappointed with him as he hasn’t, so far at least, brought the consistency many would have expected of him. I should clarify, I never expected him to beat Verstappen, but I did expect him to be close enough to pick up the pieces when it all goes wrong. Luckily for him, the first time it did all go wrong was the only time he’s actually been close enough to Verstappen’s pace to be right behind him.

    Perez seems to get a pass on rankings or ratings, because he’s likeable, but has he been better than Gasly, or Albon? I don’t think so; the car is far better this year and I actually think either of those drivers would be getting regular podiums.

    Having said all that, I’d still keep him for 2022. He’s an experienced driver and I still think he’ll find his groove with the car eventually. Red Bull are in a good position driver-wise now as they allow the next queue of young drivers to form behind Perez and can now take time over deciding which one is the most next promising star.

    1. @ben-n

      I was glad that Red Bull signed Perez as well. I think they needed that change of having a consistent and experienced driver in that 2nd seat instead of another rookie/sophomore who isn’t ready yet.

      I was partially expecting Perez to struggle at a top team, especially because his 2013 stint at Mclaren was a bit of a let down after a stellar 2012. I expected Perez to get stronger as the season went on, which unfortunately, hasn’t happened. What’s uncharacteristic is that he’s been incredibly error prone… which is the exact opposite to what we’ve seen during his Force India stint. Overall, I always expected to him to be 0.3s behind Verstappen.. but I didn’t expect to make as many errors as Gasly or Albon have made.

      It’s hard to say how Perez is performing when compared to Albon and Gasly. Sure, he’s picked up more points that either of them did in their first 11 races, but he’s also driving a more stable and competitive machine.

      If Perez continues this form till the end of the year.. I rather see Gasly in that 2nd seat.

      1. Really like Perez and agree with both of you. It really makes me sad to say this but unless he improves would have to agree Gasly should get his seat, if not in 22 than 23 latest. Still have faith in him so hopefully he does find his groove rather soon

    2. Well, none of it was unexpected when they hired Perez. Seriously, the guy accidentally wins a race and everyone believes in him. It takes more than an occasional success to be able to drive for a top team. Same for Hulkenberg, that wouldnt have worked either. They should try to snatch George if Toto plays chicken again. George, Lando or Charles would be the only ones interesting for RedBull imho. Since they are stuck (well, maybe not George) they’ll need to look outside of F1.

      1. I don’t agree with “accidentally” winning a race, I think perez was a deserving winner when keeping into account the mercedes problems, while the other freak race winner, gasly, was imo less deserving cause sainz was faster and had been robbed by the red flag, and would’ve passed him in a couple more laps.

        I wouldn’t trust gasly with more than a 5 race trial, I would steal russell from mercedes.

        1. I agree on the Gasly Perez comparison, thanks for that. Still both are inadequate for the job at hand it unfortunately seems. I really like Perez but the battle with Mercedes is useless unless RB can get the other driver in contention too every race. If only it was for the first corner battling or keeping someone behind for just a few laps. Hamilton has enjoyed a buffer behind him for years and years and years and years.

          1. True suppose like we saw in HUngarian for Alonso that perez exhibit such skills then it would be good for RB to keep Mercedes behind .am also hopeful for the remaining races we are going to see some improvements in him .

      2. Davethechicken
        11th August 2021, 12:43

        @Mayrton agree with you here. Max shows a level the RB16b can achieve. He is the benchmark. Of course as a human he will leave some performance untapped.
        Perez was viewed by most as a solid number 2, when he was signed, with a career mostly running in the midfield, with lots of sponsors money to sweeten the deal. He never was going to be at Max’s level and so it has proved.
        The puzzle is why RBR rush drivers like Albon into a top car in my view unfairly early. It will be a while until the next Max or Lewis comes along, but why did they not aim for a Leclerc, Sainz, Russell or Norris. Contracts can be bought out!!!

  7. In Gasly’s case, Ferrari was among Mercedes and RBR, but otherwise, equally a clear advantage over the rest.
    For Albon, maybe less competitive machinery compared to Mercedes, but not other teams.
    Perez has overall fared better than his two predecessors, and I’m sure RB will continue his stop-gap stay for next season.

    1. This is true, I agree he fared better but still I expected him to do better than bottas.

  8. 2nd driver seat cursed? Perez has had a way better car and less opposition than Albon and Gasly. Gasly had to deal with 5 other consistent drivers that had a pace advantage over the midfield, and Albon had the same in the late 2019. However, in 2020, Albon had only 3 drivers who were clearly ahead of the midfield. The problem is that, Red Bull were so impatient with Albon and Gasly that now they have a problem with the 2nd driver. As I said in the past, at times it takes one season to fully settle in a team. Perez highlighted that he saw why drivers could struggle with the car.

    I say Perez should stay with them for next season. Looks like Red Bull understand their car now. Red Bull’s 2nd seat is already looking like an audition spot/role if they continue to bring in different drivers.

  9. The early half of 2020 wasn’t too great for Perez as well. I hope he makes up for it. Consider the amount of points ‘stolen’ for the championship, Bottas leads Perez after the Hungarian domino.

    1. …with Norris ahead of both, which is probably a good sign they’ve been underperforming.

  10. He gives Red Bull the experience they need in the second seat. With a rookie, you are never sure how much of the deficit is down to not knowing how to drive an F1 car through a season of Grand Prix. Perez knows how to do that.

    Qualifying has been a real disappointment, and most of the time he is only managing to pull together a lucky lap in Q3 to be close to Max, he is often a second down in the early runs which isn’t acceptable. Max is exceptional but no F1 driver who is paid to race should be more than 0.5s off their teammate.

    He drives a pretty good race but because he is often on the third or fourth row rather than the second he spends most of the time working his way up the field.

    I think he is just about doing the job they need him to do. Gasly has had a couple of great seasons with TR but they don’t need to rush him in to replace Perez just yet.

  11. The more I see from Red Bull and their driver pairings for Max, the more I think there must be something up with the team. Second drivers have come and gone, and none have been giving the team what they need (a strong wing-man for Max to help with strategy and bring home good hauls of constructors points). Now, we see Perez there, an experienced driver who has shown strong talent in the past, and he isn’t performing much better.

    Now, there are only 2 possibilities I can see. The first is that the Red Bull is actually a terrible car to drive, even this season, and Max is an absolute god who is able to make it perform at the meaty end of the grid. The second is that there is a serious problem within the team which hasn’t allowed any of them to shine. Given the toxicity I have seen from Horner and Marko towards both their own drivers and others, I strongly suspect the latter to be the larger issue.

    1. @drmouse I thought of something similar and I came up with three possible reasons:
      1. It is very difficult to drive the car on the limit
      2. Verstappen is a terrible/terrific team mate
      3. The team is favouring Verstappen

      I think it is a combination of the three. I disagree with your assessment that Horner and Marko are toxic towards their own drivers. Both Gasly and Albon were out of their depth at Red Bull and there were very little signs of improvement. For Gasly the departure of Red Bull actually saved his career, he appears to be a terrific driver. Letting him go saved him.

      1. @matthijs

        I agree that both looked out of their depth, but Perez isn’t looking that much better and he’s a fairly well known quantity. It strongly suggests to me that something in the team is making life very difficult for the second driver. Maybe the team favour Max too strongly, or don’t give enough support to the secondary, or put too much pressure on them to improve quicker than is reasonable. Maybe both Gasly and Albon would actually have performed significantly better had they been in a different top team.

        We will never really know, of course, but I do think there is something fundamental which is not working correctly at Red Bull, even if it is just their selection process for another driver to complement Max.

        As for Horner and Marko, they are both very quick to start telling drivers to improve or they’ll get the boot, and they do so in public. Neither have come across as very supportive of any second driver at Red Bull, no matter whether they’ve been performing well or not, so I stand by my view that they appear toxic. It is just my opinion, though. I will admit that I can’t stand Horner on the best of days, but I’m trying to look beyond my own personal dislike in this and don’t feel I’m being unfair.

        1. @drmouse Let’s also remember that SP wasn’t exactly ever known as ‘the next Senna’ even as a ‘fairly well known quantity.’ I’m not sure who they would have selected for this season otherwise, and I don’t think we are seeing SP’s life made difficult, but rather he is still adjusting (I know that can sound like I’m giving him too much patience) and has shown some real positives not just negatives, again, as the newbie. Surely we can at least allow him the 5 races he estimated he would need to get up to speed, so then we are fairly criticizing him over the last 6 races, one of which he won.

          I think they are generally happy with SP while at the same time of course hoping he only progresses in the second half as any TP would do. I think RBR appears toxic more because one wants to see them that way than because of things they have actually done or said, while admittedly some of those things for sure have been harsh, but when you consider their expectations as a top team, some of those are perfectly understandable to the unbiased.

          1. I think saying perez won baku is talking him up, I would say “he was on course to come 2nd, hold hamilton off with a slightly better car and finally bring a red bull 1-2 after 5 years”, and in general I don’t have the same patience you have, I would steal russell from merc if possible and I would’ve taken alonso back when he was at an underperforming mclaren, I don’t care about age, I care about performance, and and alonso-verstappen pairing would’ve been flaming.

      2. @drmouse @matthijs I don’t buy into the ‘toxic’ concept. It starts that they are a top team and therefore have high expectations of their drivers, as they should given that they generally provide a pretty good car, a top three car, Mercedes hybrid era domination aside. They aren’t toxic to Max, nor were they to DR. PG and AA may have been treated firmly but then when you’re provided a top level car, that’s what comes with the territory. They really had wanted to keep DR.

        Let’s not forget to consider the dynamic that can happen when as a top team you have an elite driver in the one seat, well engrained on the team. Favour Max? Favour LH? Of course they do, for a reason, but that doesn’t have to mean cars built strictly for them like MS enjoyed at Ferrari. It can just mean that over time they learn more and more what their top driver likes, while at the same time giving their teammates a great car as well, and freedom to race with it. Of course it always helps their own cause if they can come out swinging from race one, and VB has never done that, and that was never in the cards for SP as the newbie on the team this year.

        SP has 104 points so far, and in all of last season he had 125, so from that standpoint he is using a better car to better effect. He’s shown progress and yes of course has taken a few steps back too. He spun himself to the back at the Silverstone Sprint and then was taken out in Hungary. I say we will see some good stuff from him yet, and come seasons end he will have the most points he’s ever achieved in an F1 season. I don’t see them at all disappointed with him, and cannot think of who they would replace him with, and of course there is also the reality that next season the cars are going to be completely different, and so who else would they go with that they would know would do better in the new gen car?

        1. I will never agree with schumacher being treated differently to hamilton and verstappen and any other number 1 driver, I think they all build cars around what they think is the stronger driver, then if the number 2 proves himself, things can change (verstappen, leclerc).

          I agree about perez using a better car to a better effect, this is a difference with albon and gasly, who were doing fine on toro rosso, jumped on a red bull and did the same number of points (roughly) as on toro rosso, that was disaster-performance.

          1. @esploratore1 And I will never agree that MS didn’t have the most advantages hand over fist over his teammate compared to any other driver pairing ever. As per Austria 02’s post-race interview RB admitted to his contract requiring he be subservient to MS. That in turn gave them the freedom to build MS his car like no other team as designed a car for a driver, and he had designer tires for it as well. To say ‘if the number 2 proves himself things can change,’ was never even a thought at MS/Ferrari, for they not only hired MS sub-WDC-level teammates, but they also contracted them to be subservient, ie. no chance whatsoever to usurp the number one. MS didn’t have for one minute a concern if a teammate happened to out qualify him the odd time, or lead him in a race, for they would cede their position to him. Think of that psychological advantage alone, let alone the actual contract, and then having the designer car and tires.

            Oh of course I understand the reality of a team tending towards putting their efforts behind the driver they believe has the greater chance to advance their cause, but MS/Ferrari took it to an area never seen before or since, as orchestrated by Mosely and BE to end the Ferrari WDC drought and create a new chapter post-Senna.

      3. Watching the onboards,the car has looked well balanced for most of the season…it doesn’t look like a car thats difficult to drive…the car has been built for max,that’s why he looks so comfortable in it,and Perez doesn’t.

        1. Like the 2016/17/18 cars were build around ricciardo then…
          Oh wait..

          1. If, and only if, you mean that if the driver who joins the car later can usurp the old number 1 driver by outperforming him and then getting the team to build the car around him, I agree.

          2. Davethechicken
            11th August 2021, 14:06

            Riccardo out performed Max in terms of points, wins, poles, qualy, fastest laps right up to the point he announced he was leaving Red Bull.
            Funnily enough Max had the upper hand after that. Hardly a surprise that now was it?

    2. I remember at the beginning of last season it was suggested that the Red Bull was built around Max Verstappen’s driving style, which other drivers (like Gasly, Albon and Perez) find it difficult to adapt to. I don’t think there is any truth to this, as Verstappen’s driving doesn’t appear to be drastically different to any other driver’s, but I suppose it is possible.

    3. I liken it to Schumacher’s teammates at Benetton and Ferrari. Benetton, like Red Bull, never really gave their no.2 much chance and Briatore spoke publicly about their drivers much the way Horner and Marko do now. Ferrari gave more time to their no.2 to develop into the role. And I think it’s better to have a veteran driver in that role at this stage of Max’s career rather than a young driver whose career arc is still going up like Gasly or as Albon’s was. I think they need to give Perez more time. Spoken, of course, by a longtime Checo fan.

  12. The biggest difference between Perez and Gasly is Ferrari 2019 could qualify and race in front of RBR on merit*.

    To be ranked higher than Gasly/Albon, he needs to consistently qualify 1/4 from Max and stay within the pit stop window of the leaders. Unfortunately Baku and France were the exceptions, not the rule.

  13. Red Bull are certainly running out of patience with Perez. They hired an outsider to help Max capture both titles and Checo’s struggles to qualify higher enough has become the torn on his side all season long. I really don’t expect upper management to put up with him much longer but at the same time they are running out of options. Checo is one of the few drivers that bridge that gap between a solidly #1 driver like Verstappen and a fixed #2 driver like Bottas, a #1.5 type of driver if you will, the most scarce type of drivers in the field. His craft on Sunday can only help him so much if he starts from behind. Marko is well known for having favourites and they can make the second driver’s life miserable. Perez hasn’t come close to put Max’s leadership on the track in doubt so the second class treatment is for now only aimed at “helping” him improved his Saturday’s performance.

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    1. It’s obviously not impossible to replace a number 2 driver when fighting for both titles, take alonso for example, as long as the new driver can be on it immediately it can work, you don’t lose constructor points nor drivers points, since those are on verstappen.

  14. Both Perez and Bottas are struggling and consistently being left behind by their starring teammates, Verstappen and Hamilton. Anyone who denies that up to now is some sort of clown being fooled by others or fooling himself. No exceptions this time round.
    What is the worth of outqualifying Hamilton sometimes and enjoying decent qualis if Bottas is usually toothless in the races? Overtaken very easily and passing other cars with extreme difficulty.
    And what’s the point of having superb tyre management capabilities if Perez has been such an awful qualifier and not rarely messes around in races to nullify his decent race pace?
    Both Red Bull and Mercedes haven’t much good reasons to be satisfied with their respective second drivers as far as this championship has gone.

    1. Agree with this, both disappointing, bottas better though imo this season.

      1. @esploratore1 I think that even with his lack of proper racecraft Bottas could be a lot better than Perez in the championship if he hadn’t condensed his worst from previous seasons at Mercedes in the current one: he’s not a driver to cause many collisions, but he emphatically did it last race. He usually had a not great but still average good race pace, but also this season he reached all-time lows at Imola and Baku. Even his occasional desertions of luck stroke him harder in 2021, at Monaco. To complete a miserable package there was also some unforced mistakes here and there, making a very sad big picture for him. Perez has hit even more trouble this year, but he had more highs and avoided absolute lows as well. It probably nearly levels out as a matter of fact, with a lacklustre but somewhat more consistent Bottas. Even though, he barely had a standout performance in which he actually came home with big points, being unlucky or not, to compound the trend of deterioration on his image as a driver. If Mercedes renews his contract maybe it would be mostly down on pity, what’d be just bewildering.

  15. Perez has pressured Max in a few races. Gasly was never able to trouble Max at any point. That alone is an step better. Perez needs to understand how to get the best of the car in qualifying and he will be a decent number 2 to Max. Gasly has done his time and was mentally weak. No such issues with Perez.

    1. I think robbie made the best point about the difference between gasly, albon and perez: perez is at least on course to make a lot more points than he was with the midfield car, whereas gasly and albon after swapping to red bull made basically the same points as toro rosso.

      1. @esploratore1 Conceding that Red Bull this season is very fast, significantly more than 2020 and 2019, it still might be true. Recent RBR second drivers ever since Ricciardo should have scored at least a little more points than what they actually had done to be in current Perez level, which is still not great though. Gasly looked stronger than Albon and is proving it now in 2021, the guy is one of the best in the current midfield. But his stint in Red Bull was more painfull to watch than the ongoing struggles of Perez, he seemed hopeless that time. There’s too much of an urban legend about Red Bull’s second seat but that one was weird.

  16. such a shame that a wider range of Dutch fans have found their way to this site.

    well, that’s a nice example of tribalism indeed.

    1. True, I’m a verstappen fan and I’m italian, example. I also like leclerc, norris and russell, I think they’re good for the future of f1.

  17. Maybe….. and I say maybe because I could be wrong….. but maybe the simplest explanation is the best explanation.

    And that’s that Lewis and Max are just next level compared to their teammates.

    Bottas is just a beast when it comes to qualifying, but in race mode he is just….. nah… but don’t forget he is there for a few years in probably the easiest to drive car, Russell showed us last year.

    Perez is just struggling in his first year, just as some other drivers are this year.

    The same goes for Albon and Gasly. Just struggling. Newbies with not enough miles under their belts.

    And if you’re struggling and your teammate is not, in fact he is above average and he drives very well you have to be very strong mentally to cope with that.

    And the team will react differently on their feedback. If they say a and max says b . They will go with b, of course who wouldn’t.

    So I don’t think there is any favouritism in Red Bull. The drivers are just to much out of their depts.

    Lewis and Max are just next level. That’s all.

    1. However you saw russell vs bottas. If you put russell alongside hamilton I think you’d agree he’d be better competition than bottas is.

  18. Perez is under delivering and also making the same mistakes he made last year. Too many little incidents that cripple his chances.

    If he just stayed in fourth place it was better. While verstappen was winning Austria 2, he was fighting for scraps. That can’t happen. The team should re evaluate Gasly or bring someone experienced and better like Alonso or Ricciardo.

    And to think they could have had Carlos there but dropped him.

    1. I think sainz wanted to leave toro rosso himself because historically every driver after x years was dropped, so he chose to move sideways to renault.

  19. I liken it to Schumacher’s teammates at Benetton and Ferrari. Benetton, like Red Bull, never really gave their no.2 much chance and Briatore spoke publicly about their drivers much the way Horner and Marko do now. Ferrari gave more time to their no.2 to develop into the role & were supportive, and I think Irvine & Barrichello (and Ferrari) benefitted greatly. And I think it’s better to have a veteran driver in that role at this stage of Max’s career rather than a young driver whose career arc is still going up like Gasly or as Albon’s was. I think they need to give Perez more time. Spoken, of course, by a longtime Checo fan.

  20. Get Alonso and be done with it.
    It was brilliant seeing him laughing Hamilton off, and then laughing at Sainz off the car.

    1. @esteban
      Alonso has already said he’d be pleased to be Verstappen’s teammate in any racing category, but if it happens in Formula 1 surely it’d include fighting hard against him as well. He would never compromise to a second driver role. This, and the fact Horner might remain with his ego in-between to prove he’s still not needing Alonso too much because when Fernando had been contacted to possibly go to Red Bull in 2008 they didn’t find a middle ground, two big egos playing against each other naturally came to a stalemate on that time. So the chance of that happening now is close to zero, unfortunately, because it would be awesome to see Max being tested against such an experienced and skilled racer like Fernando. Nandito could very well beat him over a season as the Mad Max is still too naive sometimes (to be cunning requires lots of experience so it’s not a permanent fault at all on Max side).

  21. People should realize Perez is a proper 2nd driver, he was brought in not expecting him to win a championship, but as a stable consistent 2nd driver who will bring good points home. Someone like Bottas. I think Perez can perform much better than what he is doing. It must be so mentally draining for a self respecting driver to be behind so much in quali in the same car, we always underestimate that factor. He needs to have a few good sessions and he should be back to his best.

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  22. I’m a Perez fan but have been a bit dissapointed this season so far, hopefully he can find some more consistency.

    I’d also love RB to offer GR the seat if Merc don’t promote him, now that would be interesting!

    1. That would be something. Some real competition for Max and Lewis

  23. I noticed most people commenting have made there judgement on Perez and that he wont improve, so put somebody else in there. I don’t see it that way. He’s made some mistakes and had some off performances, but also drove some blinding stints. I’ve been saying all season the drivers who’ve switched teams will all come good with a little patience.

    So while everyone and their father is writing Perez off. I think he’s going to be much stronger in this second half of the season and he will be a big asset in fighting back against Mercedes.

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