Sergio Perez: No-one could beat Max Verstappen in the same car immediately

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez looking at an iPad. Montreal June 2022. Credit: Alamy
Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez looking at an iPad. Montreal June 2022. Credit: Alamy

Sergio Perez does not believe there is a single driver who could step into a Red Bull and “just beat” Max Verstappen in the same car, such is his level.

Perez currently sits second in the Drivers’ Championship, but is 136 points – or more than six unanswered race wins’ worth – behind his World Champion team-mate.

With victory in Mexico, Verstappen took a record 14th win in a single season, as well as a new Formula 1 record points tally to boot.

Red Bull’s RB18 has won 16 of the 20 races so far in 2022, with Perez accounting for ‘just’ two of those victories for the Constructors’ champions, as part of 10 podium finishes for the Mexican this season.

But given how dominant Verstappen has been both within Red Bull and Formula 1 as a whole all year, Perez does not think there is a driver who would be able to overhaul the Dutchman immediately if he were to compete in equal machinery.

“Well, it’s a great challenge to be his team-mate,” Perez said.

“Max is operating at a very high level from FP1 through the whole weekend so just had a little learning and trying to beat him and trying to do the stuff he is doing.

“So it’s obviously not an easy task. I don’t believe there’s anyone that can come and just beat him straightaway. He’s very solid with the team.

“He’s been here a while so I think I’m just getting closer and closer with the year, so I will give another shot for next year and see what happens.”

Perez has elaborated on where he thinks he and the team have improved together so far this season, having generally been closer to Verstappen’s level over one lap so far this year – and thinks he’s heading in the right direction in trying to match his team-mate on a regular basis.

“Well, I think the lesson from this year is that, you know, it’s been a great year as a team. I do need to step up a bit my race pace, mainly, where last year was more the qualifying, I think,” he said.

“With these cars, you are able to race a lot closer, so I think we need to step up that race pace. The understanding with the team, with the car, I think that has come better in the last few races.

“So, I believe we are heading on the right track.”

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