(L to R): Sergio Perez, Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Miami International Autodrome, 2023

Perez “definitely closer” to Verstappen in 2023 title fight – Albon

2023 Monaco Grand Prix

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Alexander Albon says that Sergio Perez is far more of a match for Red Bull team mate Max Verstappen in their third season alongside each other.

Perez is the closest challenger to Verstappen in the drivers’ championship as the two Red Bull drivers have dominated the 2023 season so far, sharing all five race wins between the pair of them.

Albon had previously raced alongside Verstappen at Red Bull in 2019 and 2020 before being replaced by Perez for 2021, with Albon moving to Williams last year. Speaking exclusively to RaceFans, Albon said he does not believe Perez will be ground down easily by the relentless speed and consistency of his two times world champion team mate.

“I think Checo is doing a very good job,” Albon told RaceFans. “I don’t think he’s getting ground down at all – I think, if anything, it motivates him more.

“Now that it’s kind of a two horse race, it’s just you against your team mate – that’s just the pure battle of it. If I was in Checo’s position. I’d relish that. Checo also looks confident in the car. I think he’s driving well, so it’s definitely closer than it has been previously between the two drivers.”

Having raced 26 grands prix alongside Verstappen at Red Bull, Albon says Verstappen is especially tough to compete against due to how consistent he is as a driver.

“I don’t think Max has an off day,” Albon explained. “He’s always performing, from FP1 through to the race.

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“There’s not really any major mistakes he’s making. There’s never really a day where he’s not confident in the car. He’s always giving 100% every time he’s driving it. So to be on top of that and to be better than that is tough and it’s tough to be consistently better than that.”

Alexander Albon, Williams, Miami International Autodrome, 2023
“I don’t think Max has an off day” – Albon
While Albon accepts it will be a “tough ask” for Perez to beat Verstappen over the course of the season, he believes Perez has done a good job to be competitive against his team mate over the opening phase of the season.

“We’ve done five races but he seems to have capitalised every time Max has had an event or an issue – he seems to be there. And that’s really important. I think if you are going to be fighting for a championship, it’s always the finishes where your third or fourth – they’re the ones that decide the championship when the other guy is winning. So it’s going to be tough for sure. I know Max, I know how good he is.”

Don’t miss our in-depth exclusive interview with Alexander Albon coming soon on RaceFans.

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2023 Monaco Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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One comment on “Perez “definitely closer” to Verstappen in 2023 title fight – Albon”

  1. I feel this is a perfectly logical result from the car being good. Good meaning how easily different drivers can get the maximum performance out of it. We saw the same with Bottas who also clearly wasn’t on Lewis level. Lewis and Max can drive lesser cars to the front. i.e. get the maximum out of it despite the cars flaws and challenges. It is easier to drive the best car to the front. The easier the car allows to extract the maximum, the more likely Perez will extract the maximum. So the gap between him and Max will come down. So while it appears to say something about the level of Perez (or Bottas for that matter), it actually hardly does.

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