Helmut Marko gives blunt response to Sergio Perez’s title hopes

After two years with Red Bull, Sergio Perez has claimed that he finally feels that he can challenge Max Verstappen for the 2023 title.

Sergio Perez looked certain to be without a race seat in 2021, as Racing Point announced that the Mexican would not be racing for the team as they transitioned to Aston Martin.

A last to first victory at the Sakhir Grand Prix reminded those in the paddock what the Mexican was capable off, and Red Bull made the decision to bring in Perez to replace the underperforming Alex Albon.

Perez initially struggled with Red Bull, picking up a single race victory in his first season with the energy drink giants, which came in Baku where both Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton retired from the Grand Prix.

2022 has been better for the Mexican, as he has developed a reputation as the king of the street circuits following wins in Monaco and Singapore, races where Verstappen has struggled.

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Perez has now claimed that after two seasons settling in to Red Bull and serving as Verstappen’s wingman, he now believes that he is ready and capable of challenging his teammate for the 2023 championship.

Red Bull chief advisor Helmut Marko has been quick to downplay Perez’s hopes, suggesting that no one has the ability to challenge the two-time world champion, such is his talent and consistency.

“Checo can certainly win a race or two,” said the Austrian.

“But at the moment I don’t see that he can challenge Max for a whole season.

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“In general, I don’t see that anyone can currently do this.”

Marko has suggested that the only two drivers that have the capability to challenge Verstappen are Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc, but he believes that Hamilton has not been given the machinery to do so, while Leclerc is too prone to errors to mount a season long title charge.

Tensions are currently high in the Red Bull camp, with Verstappen reportedly still annoyed with his teammate for an alleged incident at the Monaco Grand Prix.

And, with Daniel Ricciardo re-joining the team as a third driver, Perez will be sweating over his long-term future with the team, should his relationship with Verstappen not improve.