Sergio Perez’s ex-manager emphasises Max Verstappen danger

Sergio Pérez claimed 13 wins fewer than Max Verstappen in 2022 and ended the season 149 points behind him.

Sergio Pérez’s ex-manager Adrian Fernandez has admitted that the Mexican driver needs to “take a big step” in 2023 to try and get close to Max Verstappen, with the Dutchman being a “problem” for his former client.

Last season was an incredibly mixed one for Checo, with the Mexican driver having started the campaign as strong as anyone, after claiming pole at Saudi Arabia and then winning the Monaco Grand Prix.

His performances weakened, though, as the season developed, with the RB18 having been upgraded to suit Verstappen’s driving style rather than Pérez’s.

Pérez did find some form in the closing stages of the season and claimed a memorable win at Singapore; however, he ultimately missed out on second in the Drivers’ Championship to Charles Leclerc.

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The Mexican is a good driver and would arguably be seen as the number one at any midfield team, the issue at Red Bull is, though, that whatever Pérez can do, Verstappen can do better.

“Checo is performing well. The problem is that Verstappen is driving next to him,” Fernandez told the Dutch edition of

“Checo is an excellent driver and now very experienced. But now he has to find out what Max does differently from him.

“Max has of course been driving for Red Bull for some time and the team is built around him. Considering that, Checo is certainly not doing wrong and is probably doing exactly what the team wants him to do.

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“But he will soon have to step up a gear. And I think he knows that too. Red Bull was very strong last year, but if the competition is closer next season, it will be even more important for the team to have two drivers at the front.”

2022 was one of Pérez’s best overall years in Formula 1, with the 32-year-old having claimed nine podiums, two wins and a pole position.

This is an incredible achievement; however, it does get overlooked given that alongside him Verstappen achieved 15 wins, two podiums and seven pole positions.

With this in mind, Fernandez simply believes that Verstappen is “virtually untouchable”, something which he thinks could be “quite intimidating” for Checo.

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“Max is just on a different level. He is of the calibre of Senna, Schumacher and Hamilton,” he added.

“I believe in Checo’s abilities, but to get to that level, he will have to take a big step.

“Max is virtually untouchable at the moment. He hardly makes mistakes.

“And if something unexpectedly goes wrong, he still knows how to overcome that setback… when you have someone next to you who is as strong as Max and always fast like him from the first lap, it is quite intimidating.”