Ex-Red Bull driver Mark Webber has said Max Verstappen will still beat Sergio Perez over the course of the season despite the Mexican’s surge in form.
In all but one of the final six races, Perez has finished no lower than second. With that form, he has overtaken Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in the driver’s standings but still remains behind his team-mate Verstappen.
After the Mexican’s win in Monaco, Red Bull boss Christian Horner went as far as suggesting the team does not have a number one driver and that whoever was leading would be given priority, something that has not been true in recent years.
The friendship between Perez and Verstappen remains strong but if Ferrari’s struggles continue, it seems increasingly likely that Perez may pose the biggest threat to the Dutchman retaining his world title.
One man who knows about battling his Red Bull team-mate is Webber who played a similar role as Perez to Sebastian Vettel during his Championship-winning runs.
The Australian has dismissed Perez’s title credentials though and said that over the course of a season, he backed Verstappen to get the better of his team-mate.
“Of course he [Perez] is driving brilliantly since these new regulations came out, he’s been genuinely quick, threatening Max in most conditions,” Webber told Channel 4.
“I still think that there are circuits where Max will overall have enough firepower to get on top of him.”
It is a dream scenario for Red Bull though and one they have not had since Daniel Ricciardo left the team in 2019. With the Drivers’ Championship currently in the trophy cabinet at their Milton Keynes base, Horner and co. will be eager to add the Constructors Championship alongside it.
The only way to achieve that is to have two drivers on song and in Verstappen and Perez, they have that. Webber said Red Bull will know they need to keep both drivers competitive if they are to stop Ferrari from overtaking them.
“Red Bull need him there, they’re racing Ferrari as well, let’s not forget,” Webber remarked.
“They know they need to keep two horses in this fight because they are racing against two horses.”
As it stands, Red Bull are comfortably clear at the top of the table with a 80-point gap between them and Ferrari but the Italian team have been warned to keep one eye over their shoulder.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said they were ready to pounce should Ferrari continue to slip up.
“When your car is not super-competitive with the front guys, [it is about] maximising those points,” Wolff told reporters. “It is important to consolidate and make sure you are no worse than third.
“But equally, you see the situation at Ferrari. If they drop the ball often then we are there.”
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