Perez is perfect team mate for Verstappen because he “doesn’t try to fight” – Marko

2022 F1 season

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Red Bull’s motorsport consultant Helmut Marko says the team has found the perfect team mate to Max Verstappen in Sergio Perez.

After Daniel Ricciardo decided to leave the team at the end 2018, Red Bull went through a series of replacements. Pierre Gasly lasted half a year before being dropped, and his replacement Alexander Albon was shown the door at the end of the following season.

Perez recently signed a two-year contract extension which will keep him at Red Bull until the end of 2024 at least. Marko believes he is the ideal partner for Verstappen because he doesn’t get drawn into battles with him on-track but is capable of picking up victories of his own.

“Max can drive any car fast,” said Marko in an interview for Red Bulletin. “That’s why having Sergio Pérez as his team mate is perfect.

“Checo doesn’t try to fight but does everything he can, and that can lead to victory as it did in Baku last season. The two work very well together.”

Perez was told to let Verstappen passed him on two occasions during the Spanish Grand Prix. He was also instructed not to fight his team mate when Verstappen caught him during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Verstappen won both races ahead of Perez.

Verstappen’s first team mate in Formula 1 was former Red Bull Junior Team member Carlos Sainz Jnr. Unlike Verstappen, he was never promoted from the Toro Rosso junior squad to Red Bull, and eventually left the team.

“There was an outcry because some felt Carlos had been overlooked,” Marko acknowledged. “His development was also very good, and the difference between the two was often very minimal.

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“But despite having less experience, Max was the faster driver, hence our decision to move him to Red Bull Racing. Carlos was simply unlucky enough to have Max as a team mate.”

Verstappen was signed by Red Bull in 2015, while he was racing in Formula 3. Marko said his schooling by his father, former Formula 1 driver Jos Verstappen, was helped mould him into a formidable competitor.

“He had a very good – but also very tough – upbringing from his father,” said Marko. “That’s what shaped him.”

“In Italy, you can practice karting all year round, and as soon as it starts raining, everyone heads to the cafeteria,” Marko added. “Max was the only one who had to stay outside and keep practising.”

His early promotion to F1 after just one season in F3 provoked what Marko believes was an unnecessary, knee-jerk change in the rules. “After Max drove his first F1 race at the age of 17, they’ve added a clause that says you must be at least 18,” he said. “I think the age limit is wrong. If you have the right training and talent, you could even do it at 16.”

“In terms of character, commitment, self-confidence and charisma, I’d compare him to Ayrton Senna,” Marko added.

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Keith Collantine
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64 comments on “Perez is perfect team mate for Verstappen because he “doesn’t try to fight” – Marko”

  1. I suppose you wait until Perez is signed up before saying the quiet bit our loud!!

    1. ttongsul (@ccpbioweapon)
      6th July 2022, 0:01

      Makes sense because Sergio’s only achievement in life was blocking Lewis for two laps in last years finale before Lewis was eventually robbed out of a title..

      Marko loves perez because he is the perfect 2nd tier driver who will do the job being his wunderkind rear blocker, perez not fast enough(Like Danny ric when he was at rb) hurt max’s feelings but not too slow (like bottas at merc) to be a useless waste of a seat.

      Why do people forget that Kamui Kobayoshi beat him at sauber over a decade ago but lost his seat and Perez kept his due to billionaire Carlos Slims pay driver backing?
      So don’t let sky and liberty gaslight you into thinking that perez is a talented driver because has always been a mediocre racer who is has had a long F1 carer thanks to Carlos Slims telmex money.

      1. You have to remember that Riccardo after he left RB haven’t done anything and know you see that he is not adaptable and kamui has never close to Pérez that’s why Kobayashi left F1 and Pérez whenever to mclaren.

      2. 22 year old, 1 year of F1 experience had 3 podiums in 2012 vs 25 year old 3 year experience with 1 protium in 2012.

        Who would you take ?

    2. @chimaera2003

      Sadly, your right. Even more sad, this is what is needed for the team to do well. Like it was said below, you can’t have two roosters together fighting; that’s counterproductive when trying to win a WDC & WCC. As long as Perez can tow the line, quali well and finish races with good points; then he’ll be praised and liked by Max & RB.
      The team has always been resoundingly built around Max’s future, the whole structure has been about Max winning multiple WDC’s. They need a good wing man to help with that and not have their #2 rock the boat; in doing so they also win the WCC.

      But to help continue the above goals, perhaps Marko should have only used his inside voice when saying that? I’m not sure what any good will come out of using his outside voice saying that; especially to the press. Why rock the boat?

      1. Jonathan Parkin
        6th July 2022, 12:56

        You can have two roosters and still win the championship. They just need to focus on their job and not worry about the ‘other guy’. That’s how Damon ultimately won in 96 after being mentally buried by Michael the previous season

        The reasons why McLaren lost the WDC in 2007 wasn’t because of a lack of team orders. Lewis could have won in China if he had pitted earlier and Fernando could have won if a) He hadn’t allowed Lewis to get under his skin and b) He hadn’t crashed at Fuji

  2. “Checo doesn’t try to fight but does everything he can, and that can lead to victory as it did in Baku last season. The two work very well together.”

    I disagree. You need two drivers that have equal level and are willing to win championships consistently. I’d imagine if Sainz was in the other Red Bull, they would have probably finished every race 1 and 2, and had likely given no chance to Mercedes last year in the constructors championship. Have a look at Rosberg and Hamilton. If Rosberg was still in Mercedes with Hamilton, NOBODY would ever have a chance of winning either championships from 2017. Unbelievable how they pushed Mercedes to the limit because of their desire to win against each other. It may cause headaches, but I’d rather be winning every single race and having a problem to deal with 2 fast and selfish drivers rather than having one driver consistently delivering and another who does not really perform all the time.

    1. Raymond Pang
      5th July 2022, 19:06

      Short memory. In 2017 and 2018 Ferrari had the faster car for a large part of the season. Had Hamilton and Rosberg still been bickering, they could easily have taken points off each other and opened the door (even wider open) for Ferrari and Vettel.

      1. Indeed. Many insiders actually rated Ferrari as the fastest car of 2018

        1. I’d say at least ferrari 2018 was for once the joint-best car, 2017 was lacking a little.

    2. @krichelle Sure, I agree with the sentiment of having two roosters on a top team, but of course as we know it usually doesn’t happen. Even Rosberg was not touted as Championship material and generally lagged a tenth or so behind LH most of the time, but when Nico was there Mercedes were utterly dominant so it could be a battle between the two drivers by default as much as anything. And TW did want two more years of the NR/LH rivalry having re-signed Nico for two more years post-2016 but for Nico to up and retire on him. Then came non-competing VB and they didn’t change that flowers and kittens arrangement for 5 seasons.

      Sentimentally yes I agree two roosters on each of the top teams would be incredible for the show. It just rarely happens and unfortunately TPs do consider the headache of dealing with two roosters as being something to avoid, even when it ultimately harms the show for the hundreds of millions of fans. But of course that’s business, and of course it depends on the competition around a team as well. Even if a TP wanted and got two roosters who were duking it out in a see-saw battle all season, that could backfire if they aren’t utterly dominant and grabbing the 1-2’s as you suggest, as a lone wolf on another very good team could grab the lion’s share of points on his team and come up the middle of the two rooster who are splitting points, and the rest is history.

    3. Yes indeed, like Valteri and Lewis. VB had to make wat so many times.

      1. Checo performs his duties with much more dignity, in spite of stupid comments like this from Helmut Marko. What a piece of work this guy… I mean, we know there is a hierarchy at Red Bull. But it had been fairly self-regulated because of the small edge Max usually has on Checo. Why the hell is there a need to make a comment like this?

        But I don’t like the comparison to VB. Checo has brilliant racecraft, has mugged Hamilton more than any other driver in the last 12 months and that’s no easy feat. There are many great highlights Checo has given us. More importantly, his wins and podiums were all hard earned. He’s never had a car anywhere near as dominant as the Mercedes from 2017-2020.

    4. José Lopes da Silva
      5th July 2022, 22:17

      40 years of Formula 1 history and evidence disagree with you, unfortunately.

      “Unbelievable how they pushed Mercedes to the limit because of their desire to win against each other.”
      That means that Hamilton pushed harder against Mercedes’ Rosberg than against Ferrari’s Vettel? Where do you see remote evidence for that and why on Earth would that happen?

      Senna drove slower in 1991 against Mansell, because it was not Prost?
      Hamilton drove slower in 2008, because it was not Alonso in the sister McLaren?

    5. @krichelle I disagree when it comes to RB and Max. They have too much at stake to shake up their time continuum. Max has been their chosen golden poster boy, the team for years has been built around Max; Max know this and has a very strong voice & political clout inside the team making him #1, more than Hamilton ever had. Plus he’s literally so fast that there really isn’t any equal drivers available to join the team that can beat him multiple times in a season; so why mess with it?

      Find a good driver who can toe the line, Quali well, Take points away from other top teams while not upsetting Max and let Max try to win races? I’m not a fan of Max and later on, one day as all race drivers do, he’ll find out what it feels like to be badly beaten by a younger faster, full of attitude, pimple faced kid; I wont be shedding any tears when that happens. But in the mean time, I think having a teammate continually try to challenge Max on the race track would not be a good or a productive solution for RB. It could be for other teams and a different driver but still a double edge sword as history has shown that (lets not forget “Multi 21”). The teams only care about winning the WCC and then WDC and they’ll do whatever they can to make that happen.

      1. You said the same as Max said he expect to be beaten by youngsters but over a long time when his younger brother joins F1 …

      2. @redpill

        “I disagree when it comes to RB and Max. They have too much at stake to shake up their time continuum. Max has been their chosen golden poster boy, the team for years has been built around Max; Max know this and has a very strong voice & political clout inside the team making him #1, more than Hamilton ever had.”

        I don’t think there is any evidence to support that. Your paragraph could just as easily be said of LH with VB there to not shake things up.

        1. @robbie That is totally correct

          But then look back at HAM and ROS discourse days; they weren’t making the team as a whole faster knocking heads with each other. They were lucky they had such a dominate car and could afford discourse and DNF’s back then. The Ham-VB duo was much better for the program until VB went way done in Quali results % and finishes. You do need a very good #2 . The one thing that is good having such a fast #2 is from the engineers standpoint, they have much better data and info to fine tune, currently unlike McLaren with Lando and RIC being so much off the pace.

  3. Dr. Marko always has such an ahem, charming way to say it, doesn’t he? Surprised he doesn’t seem to explicitly link that to Leclerc ending behind Sainz due to strategy working better for Sainz twice now this season.

    I have to agree that the age limit seems pretty useless; if one has any problems with Verstappen’s driving, I don’t think that can be related to being too young (though maybe that ‘good but though’ upbringing might have something to do with his aggression?), and he hasn’t made very many rookie mistakes that point to the need for stalling him another year in a lower formula as far as I recall.

    If we saw a similar talent in the future, and given the lack of real testing experience F1 still offers for young drivers, giving them a drive would probably be a lot better in their case just as it was for Verstappen.

    1. @bosyber I don’t have a problem with young drivers in general, but I do agree with the sentiment Jacques Villeneuve expressed when Max was signed to F1 at 17. His point at the time was that he wondered if F1 really should be making their sport look so easy that a kid could come in and do it. Should F1 not be harder than that, or at a minimum at least have an aura around it that this is for the big boys now, not the kids who don’t even have a domestic drivers licence yet. Shouldn’t you have to have a certain level of experience and maturity, or otherwise does not a (let’s take a further extreme) 16 year coming into F1 make F1 look too easy? Like I say I have no issue with young athletes at all, some of them are incredible (no matter the sport we’re talking) but early and young success can have it’s pitfalls to kids that are still finding themselves too. I have no issue with F1 having raised the age to 18 post-Max, and I wouldn’t have an issue if they made it 19 or 20 either, not that I think they will.

      1. @robbie if it would’ve been a frequent thing then maybe Villeneuve’s comment would have had a bigger weight to it, but this really was a highly exceptional case. Max debuted at a higher level in single seaters than usual, and after some adjusting he excelled. It’s only because he was so hugely talented that this happened.

        But there have been other young drivers in prominent racing series. Ricardo Rodriguez was just one year older when he stood on the podium at Le Mans (and might have been there even younger if he wasn’t refused access in earlier editions). And debuted at 19 years old in the sixties. We saw other teenagers debut in the sixties, eighties, nineties, and zeroes (?).

        I don’t think the drivers license argument is a particularly valid argument either. They drive F4, F3 and F2 while they don’t have a drivers license yet. F2 is 600HP in a small and light car. Sure F1 has more, but why would that argument then be only valid for F2?
        The hardest part about getting a drivers license isn’t even car control anyway. That’s almost trivial. It’s situational knowledge and awareness, knowledge of traffic laws, signs and lights, and things like that. The link with racing is non-existent.

        It’s a rule that wasn’t necessary, and nobody would’ve done it since (nor before).

        1. @mattds Fair comment. The point I was making about the domestic drivers license is just to point out age and maturity. Yes I’m sure there have been other young drivers here and there but I think on average back in the day guys weren’t racing F1 cars until they were in their early to mid-twenties. But really, for me this is more about the aura of F1 and the concept as JV put it of perceptions. Does F1 want to be perceived as something a relative kid could walk in and do? The fact is they raised the age to 18 post-Max. If a 16 year old could come in and do it, what does that say for the feats that these drivers are achieving? And the reality is, as we have seen, sometimes a Gasly, or an Albon, sure enough wasn’t ready…at least not to be on a top team…even though they had already made it to F1. My general comment…there should be a mystique and an aura to getting to the level of F1 and it should not be about youngsters being eaten alive by being fast-tracked prematurely. This is supposed to be the pinnacle of racing, not a training ground. I would say 18 is the bare minimum for drivers to come in and possibly stand a chance of surviving and excelling, unless as you say they are exceptional like Max. If a mere youth can do it then F1 as the pinnacle needs to be harder. That said I think it is challenging as it is, and we have seen drivers ready for F1 but not ready for a top team, and at least there’s some aura and mystique to that.

      2. José Lopes da Silva
        5th July 2022, 22:19

        That means that Max Verstappen is above the average, did not need caution nor protection, likely because he is a driver for the ages.

      3. Robbie, I generally agree with your comment about minimum ages for all sports, not just F1. I particularly like the NFL rules that to play in NFL, you have to be old enough to have completed college, so that you have matured physically and emotionally, and have a broader outlook on life.

        Although Max was pretty young when he first drove, Lance Stroll wasn’t much older on his debut, and I don’t know if it is still the case, but at one time Nico Rosberg was the youngest person to have driven an F1 car when he’d done a straight line test for Williams, I think, and later was still the youngest when he had a full track test. I remember when Kimi Raikkonen was first signed by Sauber, I think there was a problem because he’d grown up in karting and had less than 25 car races in total, and I think they changed the rules about getting a superlicense after that.

  4. Gentle as collapsing building.

  5. It’s very telling that he chose to say this 2 days after Sainz, who should be there with Max, won his first race by defying team orders.

    1. Edvaldo I think it is a safe bet that Marko was being asked the questions he was because Sainz was at Torro Rosso at one point. “Should be there” is water so far under the bridge that it is a non-starter. RBR obviously made the right decision 6 years ago as here we are with Max having done what he has so far in his career, and Carlos wasn’t retained on the team and only just now has finally won one race. There’s a good chance he may not win another this season going by how his qualy and races have gone on average.

      1. He is no Max but did enough to get the RB seat. But it isn’t about doing enough, but about who they want there to be a good number 2.
        As for not winning races, it’s not like he was driving a top car all these years since leaving Red Bull anyway.

      2. Sainz is not number 2 drivers i think they found that out very fast…

  6. Not bad for a #2, Marko. And then there’s Perez…

    1. Sainz jnr is a sneaky driver, he lets max by everytime charles is ahead but he fought for it in Silverstone, ultimately making a trademark mistake to lose the lead.
      Sainz jnr was much slower than Max but you can’t take him at face value so he always made sure he was an hindrance to Max. Ferrari should have known sainz jr is a bad team mate but they took him regardless. Sainz jnr defiances cost ferrari the win at monaco and it cost charles at least a couple spots in Silverstone not to mention he leaves leclerc exposed to max.

  7. After the way Sainz took control at Ferrari this last weekend perhaps Checo could step up to the mark and put racing back in the hands of the racers?

    1. @nullapax what does this comment mean?
      Sainz didn’t take control – he got extremely lucky that Ferrari screwed it up once again for Leclerc or he wouldn’t have won at all. Leclerc has been on the receiving end of a huge amount of bad luck (like, literally half of his races compromised or DNF’d altogether through no fault of his own) and he is still ahead in the standings.

      And on the RBR camp – Verstappen is not a racer? How even?

    2. @nullapax
      Sainz has moved out of the way to let Leclerc through after a team order.

      1. Also point blank refused team orders to assist Chuck at the last restart – reiterating for good measure.

  8. I see Verstappen is, like Hamilton, now having some prolly-true karting stories added to his legend. Oh he had to race in rain by himself when the other kids went to the cafeteria. OK.

    1. Derek Edwards
      6th July 2022, 0:23

      Heard this one about Max several years ago, when people were discussing his drive in the wet at Brazil 2016. Not a recent addition.

    2. That is very old information even in 2015 was already a documentary where this brought up. (also 2016 Brasil like Derek Edwards said.)

  9. This shows how far up Max’s you know what Marko’s head is. Hard for RB to have to deal with the boss favoring someone so much.

    Charisma of Ayrton Senna!! 🤔 As a diehard Senna fan I am offended.

    IF Perez was to fight he will be left wondering why his Adrain Newey Masterpiece is going backwards. (Canada)

    1. More tinfoil-hattery. Yes, Red Bull is going to sabotage one of their cars. That makes so much sense.

      Or, and get this, Perez has been consistently slower for the past 1.5 years and that’s the end of it.

    2. Yup I am offended aswell. Sorry no F1 driver can claim to have Senna Charisma.

      But Senna was pretty much a product of that time, today same cult of personality is impossible. Granted Verstappen has nowhere near the mystique Senna portrayed.

      But perhaps Marko – a known top racing driver… equates Charisma with speed, car control and ability to set blistering charismatic laptimes, then he does have a point.

    3. He’d know well that Redbull strategy prioritises not having their two cars on the same piece of track on the same tires wherever that may cost their chosen #1 a point.

    4. Yeah the line about the charisma of senna is top tier Marko. He has zero clue what he’s talking about, which is why I love it when they interview him (-8

  10. ““In terms of character, commitment, self-confidence and charisma, I’d compare him to Ayrton Senna,” Marko added.”

    LOL, Ayrton Senna, let’s see..
    Ruthless character,
    Committed beyond what is healthy and fair,
    Always confident in himself, 110% to the point of being blind to any other possibility?
    Charisma? Debatable, but I just do not see it.

    Maybe Verstappen is indeed 80% kinda like Senna.

    Lewis liked himself to be compared to Senna, but Lewis is way to nice, to clean, to fair.

    To be really honest, we like to compare with older drivers, but pretty much Verstappen is unique. We could say he has many traits worthy of comparison, but overall a different person.

    1. @jureo Yeah I agree with much of your two above posts. Senna definitely had a mystique, and was a deep philosophical thinker and religious and I don’t see that in Max. But the ability, the focus, the confidence, the millisecond to millisecond adaptation, yeah for sure. I think both drivers were born to do this, but for Senna it was other-worldly, and that was fascinating.

    2. I wouldn’t regard Lewis nice, clean nor fair. He is an old generation driver that compensates his insecurities by deliberately chosen pr talk and playing mind games off track. I am much more a fan of the current generation of drivers who seem to be far better able to separate on and off track chemistry and relationships. This season has been such a breath of fresh air seeing how Charles, Carlos, Checo, Max and Lando get along and don’t dramatise every single thing or spin it into I am the king narratives.

      1. another nonsense anti Lewis tirade, subject is about doormat number 2 perez at RB and you twist it into Lewis bashing fan fiction?

        1. Lewis brings toxicity into the sport (as well as Toto and Horner by the way). That has no place in a sport imho and it breathes insecurity. He should do his talking on track. At least the new generation seems to understand the value of authenticity.

      2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        6th July 2022, 5:24

        You left out George Russell…:) As for the current gen, they are a bit boring, aren’t they?

        I think Lewis and Fernando are still the ones to watch and provide 50% of the show.

        Look at MotoGP now – so much less exciting now than it used to be with the great protagonists.

        The sport suffers when there are no rivalries and competition.

        1. Well, I guess that sums up why there are sometimes fierce debates on this and other forums. Some spectators watch to see the sport and athletes performance (say within an Olympic thought or atmosphere) while others also watch for protagonist drama and rivalries and the somewhat more show elements. There is a significant difference in starting point there that can only lead to disagreement on the things unfolding in front of their eyes. I belong to the first group and therefore dislike the off track mind games sometimes displayed by certain drivers and regard it as a weakness they need to be able to win. The others would probably praise these actions as they feel it is an integral part of the entire show and competition.

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            6th July 2022, 18:58

            I do see your point. I prefer both. Excellent performance with zero passion and emotion is not that appealing to me. I can certainly appreciate it but I would rather watch Djokovic playing Nadal than Lendl playing Stefan Elbert.

          2. That’s fair and I understand

      3. Everyone is an individual and has their own insecurities. They all deal with this differently. I think for the most part Lewis handles things pretty well. He is a pretty clean driver and quite fair I think. He seems to be quite a worrier when in the car i.e. he thinks things are going wrong. But then Max is like this as well and we often hear his tirades.

        Considering Lewis had an eighth world title stolen from him in front of us all, I think he handled this very well. Can you imagine the reaction of some people from the past?

        1. MingTheMercyless
          6th July 2022, 14:48

          It doesn’t become true over time, by simply repeating some mantra. Lewis wasn’t robbed of anything.
          Lewis should have won the WDC, he had the best car for most of the season. However, his own, and his team’s frequent mistakes, meant he couldn’t beat a relentless Verstappen over a full season. Of course, you’re free to reject this reality and substitute your own;)

          To consider cutting ties to the outside world, snubbing the FIA gala, go into hiding for a month and have the referee axed handling it well, is a bit generous though. I doubt any of the oldtimers would have reacted in such a way.

        2. Lewis is “clean and fair” when he’s at no pressure. He crossed the line multiple times against Max and Rosberg when he was forced to choose between losing or fighting. People usually see Max forceful moves against him, but they don’t see that it was forceful moves because Lewis was often only giving him that option. Lewis also make “agressive mistakes” like with (Albon 2x times).

          His agressivines is there, but it’s more reactive than active (like Max).

        3. The title was not stolen, that’s the point, it’d have been stolen from verstappen if he had won it, you might have a point with that in 2016, not 2021.

  11. Nuckley Brake
    5th July 2022, 23:05

    Lewis is way to nice, to clean, to fair.

    Famous last words

  12. Take note Yuki…

  13. Perez isn’t fast enough to consistently challenge Verstappen which is why he’s ideal for RBR. The fact he’s professional and tends not to speak out is also a quality he possesses. I think Sainz will prove to be a better driver than Perez this season overall.

  14. It’s true Checo doesn’t fight Max. Every single time he’s had an opportunity to make a move on Max he pulls his punches. That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t go for it if he’s able to stay in the title fight to the end..

    Apparently Checo was told not to fight after Max had already made the pass for the lead in Baku as at that stage they didn’t want to waste time fighting while Leclerc was on an alternative strategy. So it’s not quite the same as being told to give the place up, Checo recognised he didn’t have the pace on those tyres as was more understanding than the farce that was Spain.

    1. @lejimster82:
      Seems like a fair assessment.
      You could add that everybody also remembers what happened between Perez and Ocon, where they fought when they shouldn’t. And it ended in tears on multiple occasions*. RBR can’t have that

      *not blaming either of them for 100%

  15. The line “does not fight” is taken completely out of context. What marko meant was, checo does not fight verstappen (like gasly did) but drives his own race and setup his own car to his liking.
    Checo has a more mature and stable character and does not mind putting the team interests above his own.
    If he is faster than max ( very much stimulated) he can go for his own position. No team orders there. If he is slower the team is prioritized.

  16. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
    6th July 2022, 10:53

    Perez won’t fight because he gets the order from the team not to. I think it is as simple as that.

  17. Helmut has foot in mouth disease 🙂

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