Sergio Perez says he wants 2023 title charge as he makes Max Verstappen claim

Sergio Perez finished third in his home race last weekend while his teammate Max Verstappen won his record breaking 14th race of the year.

Sergio Perez ages like a fine wine, getting better year after year, and the Mexican wants to take another step next year in the form of a genuine title challenge.

Perez has been paired with Max Verstappen at Red Bull for two years now, with the 32-year-old playing more of a wingman role that directly rivalling his teammate, who needed all the help he could get last year in his battle with Lewis Hamilton for his maiden championship win.

The Mexican driver has spoken about how difficult it can be to challenge Verstappen, with the Dutchman being a level above most drivers across the whole race weekend.

“It’s a great challenge to be his teammate,” he stated when asked about the driver duo.

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“Max is operating at a very high level from FP1 through the whole weekend so just had a little learning and trying to beat him and trying to do the stuff he is doing. 

“So obviously it’s not an easy task.”

The Mexican looked set to leave F1 upon the expiry of his Racing Point contract in 2020, but an astonishing last to first victory in Sakhir maybe reminded the world of what he can offer, and he found himself taking the vacant seat at Red Bull for the following year.

Perez’s first season was more about helping Verstappen beat Hamilton, being the perfect wingman but only securing one victory for himself, while this year he has become the master of the street circuits, winning in Monaco and Singapore alongside a consistent haul of podiums.

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Next year Perez would like to go one step further and challenge Verstappen for the championship, with someone in equal machinery to the Dutchman being the most likely to get the better of him.

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“I don’t believe there’s anyone that can come and just beat him straight away,” he explained.

“He’s very solid with the team. He’s been here a while so I think I’m just getting closer and closer with the year so yeah, I will give it another shot for next year and see what happens.”

With 2023 set to be a competitive year at Red Bull, it will be interesting to see how the team manage a title battle, with Perez clearly not as happy to play the wingman role as he once was.