Sergio Perez must accept he is slower than Max Verstappen if he is to succeed at Red Bull, British F1 journalist Tom Clarkson has said.
Speaking on the F1 Nation podcast, Clarkson, the host, said he believes as long as Perez is able to accept that he won’t be able to match Verstappen’s qualifying pace, he can be a good second driver at Red Bull.
“As long as Perez doesn’t let Max Verstappen’s pace in qualifying get to him, because I think that has been the unravelling of all of Max’s team-mates before. So as long as he accepts he’s slower…,” Clarkson said in response to ex-GP2 Champion Davide Valsecchi’s prediction that Red Bull have finally found a solid second driver to put alongside the Dutch ace.
Perez started the Bahrain GP from the pitlane due to an electrical issue on the formation lap, and he managed to recover up to P5 and was voted Driver of the Day.
Imola will play host to round two of the 2021 F1 season, and Clarkson made a bold prediction for what the podium will look like.
“I think Pierre Gasly’s going to be on the podium. Perhaps Verstappen P1, Hamilton P2, Gasly P3,” he said.
Both Honda-powered teams – Red Bull and Scuderia AlphaTauri – looked very competitive in pre-season testing and the 2021 season-opener.
However, Verstappen narrowly missed out on victory to Sir Lewis Hamilton, while the two AlphaTauri drivers failed to maximise the potential of the car due to Pierre Gasly crashing early in the grand prix and Yuki Tsunoda getting knocked out of Q2 on Saturday.
This weekend’s grand prix could be a much stronger showing for the two teams, with many in the paddock considering Verstappen favourite to win the race and potentially overtake Hamilton in the Drivers’ Standings.