With the ‘enemy’ at home
Sergio Pérez’s chances of being world champion have increased since he runs for Red Bull.
The Mexican arrived at the Austrian team for the 2021 season and has a contract until 2024. In 2022 he had a promising start, but it was not constant and he finished third in the drivers’ world championship.
“The goal is to improve what has been done this season and fight for the championship. That is my biggest dream in Formula 1 and that’s why I’m still here, I hope that in the next two years I can become champion,” said the Mexican midfielder.
But belonging to Red Bull has a double edge for Sergio Pérez. Just as he has become more competitive, he has also had to run in the shadow and at the service of the Dutchman Max Verstappen, the current two-time champion.
For his work protecting Verstappen to facilitate some victories, ‘Checo’ Pérez has been called the ‘Minister of Defense’, but when the Mexican needed the support of the Dutchman there has been no reciprocity.
In the 2022 season, the Mexican aspired to finish as runner-up, a goal that did not materialize due to the position of the Dutchman who, for example, refused to let Pérez win the Mexican Grand Prix even though he already had the title secured.
On the next date of the series, in Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Verstappen denied another help to Pérez, who that day let go of the runner-up.
“If he has two championships, it’s thanks to me,” Pérez told Verstappen at the end of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix. That day the Dutchman refused to give back a race position to the Mexican who finished seventh and dropped to third place in the standings.
After that episode, the relationship between Verstappen and Pérez has become tense and the situation frustrating for the Mexican because the priority for Red Bull in the design of strategies and development of the cars is the Dutch.
Looking ahead to the 2023 season, Pérez has recognized Verstappen as “the best driver of the moment”, but warned that, despite the preferences and hierarchy that the Dutchman has, “I can close the gap between the two and fight for the title”.