Verstappen Left Behind by Perez: Red Bull’s Naive Hope for Improvement

Once again, Max Verstappen was on his own. He kept Red Bull Racing afloat with his incredible skills.

Verstappen proved his worth in England, finishing second despite the RB20 not being the best car at Silverstone. With smart moves like overtaking Norris and choosing the right time for tire changes, he put himself in a great position.

The contrast with Sergio Perez is stark. Every weekend brings a new excuse for him—this time it was poor qualifying and a failed race strategy. The truth is, Perez has never been fast enough in qualifying.

Why Perez’s Poor Performance Isn’t Surprising

Perez’s struggles in qualifying are nothing new. Even at Force India/Racing Point, he often lost to teammates like Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Ocon. He made up for it by driving well in races, especially on street circuits where he managed tires better than others.

However, since joining Red Bull Racing, Perez hasn’t been able to surprise anyone anymore. Competing at the top means facing tougher rivals like Hamilton and Leclerc every week, which is much harder than racing against midfield drivers.

In the midfield, Perez could make up for bad qualifying with good race performance. But now he’s struggling because he’s not better than drivers from Mercedes or Ferrari during races either. Starting behind them due to poor qualifying only makes things worse.

Since 2021, he’s been at least four-tenths of a second slower than Verstappen in qualifying every year. Things looked up briefly in 2022 but reverted back once Verstappen got comfortable with the car again. As competition gets tighter, more cars come between Verstappen and Perez during races.

Mercedes kept their second driver spot competitive from 2017 to 2022 by not giving Valtteri Bottas long-term deals; this kept him motivated while they monitored other talents like George Russell who eventually joined after proving himself at Williams.

What Red Bull Did Wrong

Red Bull acted too soon with Perez by offering him a deal through 2024 when he was performing well early in 2022. But once his performance dipped after signing that contract, they were stuck without options as internal pressure grew despite another brief upturn early this year.

Surprisingly enough though they repeated this mistake heading into 2024—another new deal despite poor form continuing which now risks losing them constructors’ title!

Fans might wonder why Red Bull keeps making these choices

Rumors say that even with this new deal signed there’s still talk about dropping him mid-season! If so then Daniel Ricciardo would be next up but what has he shown lately? Same goes for Yuki Tsunoda who seems unlikely improvement over current state either…

Hoping that Perez would improve can be seen as naive given his age (34) & history showing lackluster qualifications compared against Verstappen outside brief spurts last couple years…

Red Bull should’ve started looking earlier for someone strong enough qualify closer Saturdays instead fallback plans now fighting world titles doesn’t look good…

What do you think about all these changes?

Albert Ramirez
Albert Ramirez
Albert Ramirez is a senior writer at With a passion for motorsports, Albert brings a unique perspective to the world of Formula One. With over five years of experience as a sports reporter, he has honed his skills in capturing the essence of the sport.

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