Red Bull comment on reliability as Helmut Marko spurs Sergio Perez on

Red Bull pairing Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez are first and second in the Drivers' Standings.

Red Bull adviser, Dr Helmut Marko, acknowledges that Sergio Perez has progressed since the start of last year, but he wants more consistency from the Mexican.

Perez now has two wins with Red Bull after victories in Baku last year and Monaco this, and after being soundly beaten by team-mate Max Verstappen in 2021, he was a lot more competitive at the beginning of 2022.

He out-qualified the reigning champion three times in the opening eight rounds of the year, but has not done so since, with the Dutchman operating on another planet at the moment.

Verstappen has won nine races this season, the last two of which, in Hungary and Belgium, have come from 10th or lower on the grid.

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The 33-year-old, who played key role in Perez’s title victory last year, had been struggling for form in the final five rounds before the summer break, but he appeared to find his feet again in Spa.

He finished second to Verstappen but, from 14th on the grid, the 24-year-old beat Perez by nearly 18 seconds, asserting absolute dominance over the rest of the field after his grid penalty.

There is absolutely no stopping Verstappen at the moment, so Dr Marko wants Perez to target beating Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to second in the championship.

“He has definitely improved, but he has to be fully there from the first practice session, maybe then we’ll manage a couple of one-twos,” he said in conversation with Sky Germany.

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“That would be the first time we’ve finished first and second in the world championship, that’s our next goal.”

As for Verstappen’s drive, no one at the team expected he would carve through the field as quickly as he did, and the Dutchman simply makes it look easy.

“It was easier than expected,” added Dr Marko.

“To be honest, we weren’t too sure of ourselves, but after the first few laps we saw that Max was significantly faster than the rest of the field.

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“The ease with which Max is currently performing these services is incredible, it’s a combination of his self-confidence and the incredible driving class of Max Verstappen.

“Our engine is reliable and can keep up, everything is fine at the moment.”

Verstappen heads into his home Dutch Grand Prix this weekend with a 93-point advantage over Perez in the Drivers’ Standings, with Leclerc a further five behind.