‘I don’t think he’s on the same level as Lewis and Max’: Perez tipped to be Verstappen’s wingman in 2022

Sergio Perez is keen to improve in 2022 after a satisfactory debut season with Red Bull last year.

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez has backed himself to improve on his debut season with Red Bull last year, affirming that he has a lot more he wants to accomplish before his career is out.

Perez signed for Red Bull at the end of the 2020 season after winning the Sakhir Grand Prix with Racing Point, and he managed five podiums along with a race win as he helped teammate Max Verstappen earn his first-ever world championship.

He previously stated that it took him time to adapt and learn “how to drive” the Red Bull compared to the predominant midfield challengers he had become accustomed to, but he now feels ready to grow as a racing driver and become more adept with the car.

“I think I’m just going to get stronger now. I’m working for it every day. So hopefully this year I can have another gear,” he told The Independent.

The Mexican claimed his first victory at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix with Racing Point after 10 seasons in Formula 1.

He was wiped out on the opening lap by a combination of Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen, but came back through the field from last place to take advantage of a series of catastrophes for Mercedes’ George Russell to win the race.

He recalls the emotions and the ecstasy of finally winning a grand prix after nine previous podium finishes.

“It’s something you dream about since you’re a child, knowing how it feels, being on that top step. It was a very special moment, especially for me, because it took so long,” he explained.

The 32-year-old was influential in his teammate’s success last season as he held off Sir Lewis Hamilton in both Turkey and Abu Dhabi, but he wants to kick on and achieve more for himself.

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“I know what I have done, what my family has done, and we’re proud, but I’m not the type of guy to run around screaming about it, that’s just boring,” he stated.

“Everyone has their own story, their own life, and at the end of the day, we’re here because we want to be here: to race; to compete; to deliver.

“I’ve had a fantastic career and I still want to achieve a lot more in this sport.”

However, former F1 driver and Sky Sports pundit Martin Brundle is doubtful Perez will be able to sustain a title challenge.

“For a whole season, no, I honestly don’t think so. I don’t think he’s on the same level as Lewis and Max. Nobody is at the moment,” he said.