‘Sergio Perez has to become Bottas 4.0 as Red Bull have Max Verstappen for the title’

Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez in conversation. Turkey October 2021 Credit: Alamy
Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez in conversation. Turkey October 2021 Credit: Alamy

Sergio Perez has to become the latest edition of Valtteri Bottas, “4.0” if you will and the “perfect second driver”, that’s according to Dutch commentator Olav Mol.

Back in 2019, Mercedes driver Bottas referred to himself as “Bottas 2.0” as he sought to take on Lewis Hamilton for the World title. But, as the season progressed, the Finn soon found himself slipping back into his “sensational wingman” role.

He finished the season runner-up to Hamilton but the points he scored helped Mercedes once again secure the Constructors’ Championship. He repeated the P2 a year later, Mercedes extending their run of championship doubles to seven.

Mol believes embracing his inner Bottas is something Perez now has to do rather than try fight Max Verstappen for the World titles.

“To the outside world, Perez is someone who says he is not suitable as a second driver,” he said in an interview with the Dutch edition of Motorsport.com, “but in private Perez knows exactly that he is what he is.

“But he has to become Bottas 4.0.

“Bottas was the perfect second driver, always right behind. Bottas won Constructors’ titles, you could say that Red Bull also achieved it thanks to Perez. Not just because of Max’s points. That’s the biggest part.

“But Red Bull has Max for the Drivers’ title and Perez for the Constructors’ title, that’s the situation.

“Perez knows that, he sees all the data, all the laps that he can’t handle the level. That’s not too bad, he drives at the maximum and that brought Red Bull the Constructors’ title in 2022.”

‘Verstappen put a period and not a comma’

The 60-year-old also weighed in on the team-mates’ Sao Paulo Grand Prix controversy where Verstappen outright refused to move over for Perez.

Asked by Red Bull more than once to hand P6 to his team-mate, who needed the extra points in his fight to finish second in the Drivers’ standings, Verstappen refused to.

Crossing the line ahead of the Mexican driver, he told the team: “I told you already last time, guys. Don’t ask that again to me, okay? Are we clear about that? I gave my reasons, and I stand by it.”

Mol says he drew his line in the sand.

“That Verstappen’s on-board radio in Brazil brought clarity, Verstappen put a period and not a comma,” he said.

It was thought that Verstappen’s refusal was in response to Perez’s crash in qualifying at the Monaco Grand Prix, pundits suggesting Perez had told Red Bull he’d done it deliberately to keep his team-mate behind him on the grid.

‘Nice for us that Mercedes did not win the championship in 2022’

Red Bull have refused to reveal the details behind Verstappen’s actions with Mol saying the English media most notably created more out of it than it was worth.

And with some parts of the British media still smarting over the final race of the 2021 season, he says it was “nice” that Mercedes didn’t win the titles in 2022.

He continued: “As the press we make a whole story out of that, but it’s not that, and that is also fed by the English press. Let’s be honest, there are many people who say that in the Netherlands and in the past at Ziggo, too many races were watched with orange glasses.

“But I have news for you: the English are four times worse than the Dutch. You see that, all kinds of lame slips of the tongue, very nasty things. They are still not done with it.

“And so it is nice for us that Mercedes did not win the championship in 2022 by force majeure, otherwise they would have cut even harder about 2021: “See, 2021 has been taken from us because they are good enough.”

“This year they didn’t make it, a line has been drawn that they didn’t win the championship and won’t again this year. That is very important.”

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