Max Verstappen claims Red Bull don’t need Sergio Perez

Max Verstappen has added insult to injury amid Sergio Perez's ongoing struggles.

Max Verstappen has stated that he can lead the team to victory in the constructors’ world championship in 2023 without relying on his current teammate, Sergio Perez. 

Verstappen’s comments came after securing yet another pole position at Silverstone, while Perez failed to make it to Q3 for the fifth consecutive race.

Speaking about his own struggles in the changing conditions, Perez acknowledged the need for the team to understand the reasons behind his difficulties. 

“As a team, we have to understand why that is,” the Mexican driver stated.

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While pressure seems to be mounting on Perez, Red Bull’s top team official, Dr. Helmut Marko, chose to withhold direct criticism of the struggling driver. 

Marko acknowledged the need for Perez to improve and stated, “He’s lucky that it’s a track where overtaking is possible. 

“But if one driver is first and the other is 16th, that doesn’t quite fit together. 

“It’s been a weakness in his past but it’s just too common now.”

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Marko, however, dismissed any comparisons between Perez and Alpha Tauri’s Nyck de Vries, highlighting the importance of races in distinguishing Perez. 

He emphasised that there was no immediate need for action regarding Perez’s position and asserted, “And there’s no one who could replace him anyway. 

“Then he also has a teammate who doesn’t make any mistakes and is clearly faster. 

“As a racing driver, you first have to cope with that.”

Marko attributed Perez’s P16 qualifying position to a stroke of bad luck and urged him to improve, considering it was not the first time he faced such difficulties. 

Marko expressed confidence that Perez could still score points with the advantage of the DRS (Drag Reduction System) in their car.

In a surprising turn of events, Verstappen himself voiced criticism of Perez’s performance, questioning why something went wrong for his teammate on the day. 

Verstappen stated, “With our car, you should be in Q3, so I don’t know why something went wrong with him today.”

Regarding Red Bull’s perspective on the situation, Verstappen suggested directing inquiries to Dr. Helmut Marko or team principal Christian Horner. 

While acknowledging the team’s pursuit of victory in the constructors’ championship, Verstappen expressed his confidence in being able to achieve that goal single-handedly.

The possibility of Daniel Ricciardo, Verstappen’s former teammate and current Red Bull reserve driver, returning to the grid with Alpha Tauri next year was raised. 

Verstappen commended Ricciardo’s performance in the simulator and affirmed his comfort level with him. 

READ: Helmut Marko hints about Daniel Ricciardo return

The Australian driver will even have the opportunity to test the championship-leading car in the post-British GP tyre test.

Verstappen’s remarks about Ricciardo’s abilities prompted speculation about a potential replacement for Perez. 

However, Verstappen refrained from discussing the matter directly, merely stating, “I’m not talking about that.”