‘Grumpy’ Sergio Perez told Red Bull will fire him

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez has struggled to get close to Max Verstappen this season despite initially showing promise.

Ex-Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher is convinced that Sergio Perez’s “days at Red Bull are numbered”, following another disappointing Grand Prix last weekend.

Following an extraordinary start to the race, Perez found himself in the lead of the Dutch Grand Prix by the third lap, despite having started seventh.

Perez pitted for Intermediates at the end of the opening lap following a sudden heavy downpour, which soaked the circuit.

As the leaders – including Max Verstappen – didn’t pit till the end of the second lap, Perez undercut them all to claim the race lead.

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He had a healthy advantage, yet Red Bull decided to pit Verstappen before Checo when the circuit dried.

This allowed the reigning World Champion to undercut Perez and reclaim the race lead.

Perez pitted on the following lap and dropped to second, before a costly mistake at Turn 1 when further rain arrived dropped him to third.

If that wasn’t bad enough, he then sped in the pit-lane after hitting the pit wall, something which saw him slapped with a five-second time penalty.

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This demoted him to fourth at the end of the race.

It was certainly another missed opportunity for a good result for Checo, who despite being contracted to Red Bull for 2024 is at risk of being sacked, according to Schumacher.

“I think his days at Red Bull are numbered,” Schumacher wrote in his Sky Sports column.

“Dr Helmut Marko isn’t exactly known for his warm-hearted way of dealing with Perez. I think that Perez as a guy can’t handle it so well, that’s how I explain these serious mistakes.

“Perez looked very grumpy, disappointed and also absent all weekend. I think that there were already agreements about a separation after the end of the season..”

Whilst Red Bull have insisted that they’ll honour Perez’s contract, Schumacher believes Lando Norris would be an ideal replacement.

Not only is the McLaren driver quick and young, he’s also very good friends with Verstappen.

He is contracted to McLaren until the end of 2025 though, something which could prove to be a stumbling block.

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Nevertheless, Schumacher is convinced that Verstappen will get to choose who he wants to replace Perez.

“The two seem to be good friends. I assume that Verstappen will ultimately decide who will be his teammate. This is nothing unusual,” Schumacher added.

“That was already the case with Senna, my brother also had this right. When a driver like Verstappen contributes so much to the team’s success, I also think it’s good that you have to totally agree [who your teammate is].”