Red Bull chief names surprise F1 driver as ideal teammate for Max Verstappen

471     0
Helmut Marko has had his say (Image: Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Helmut Marko has had his say (Image: Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Helmut Marko reckons that a combination of Sergio Perez and Haas' Nico Hulkenberg would be the "perfect" team-mate for Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

F1 legend Marko, now an advisor to Red Bull, has weighed in with his surprising verdict as rumours swirl regarding who'll partner Verstappen next year following what's highly likely to be his third successive championship-winning campaign. Perez may already be the Dutchman's colleague but recent struggles in qualifying have seen his form come into question, despite still performing well when it comes to race day.

That's in contrast to Hulkenberg, whose impressive qualifying runs have prompted Marko to claim that combining the Haas driver and Perez's abilities together would be ideal - if it was at all possible. "That's the right thought," the 80-year-old told Motorsport-Total.com. "The two would be the perfect qualifying and race combination."

Nevertheless, Marko doesn't appear to be considering the prospect of dropping Perez ahead of 2024. "We have a contract with Perez until the end of 2024," he affirmed. "He's second in the World Championship. Why would there be a need for action?"

Now behind Verstappen on the leaderboard by more than 100 points, the Mexican's priority is to wrap up second place before the season ends in Abu Dhabi on November 26. Marko believes that Perez needs to "find himself again" over the course of the final 10 races and suggests that coming to terms with not winning the title could benefit him.

Pierre Gasly was allowed to leave AlphaTauri due to worries over his F1 future eideziqkeiqhhinvPierre Gasly was allowed to leave AlphaTauri due to worries over his F1 future

"He has now woken up from his World Championship dream," Marko explained. "Maybe that will help him to concentrate on getting the best possible performance again."

He went on to say: "Verstappen is a completely different benchmark. The fact that Perez has to be within three-tenths of Max is interpreted benevolently by us. Sometimes it was more.

Have your say! Do you agree with Helmut Marko? Give us your verdict in the comments section.

Red Bull chief names surprise F1 driver as ideal teammate for Max VerstappenNico Hulkenberg has impressed during qualifying (Alessio Morgese/NurPhoto)
Red Bull chief names surprise F1 driver as ideal teammate for Max VerstappenSergio Perez is coming under pressure (Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images)

"Perez is second in the World Championship. That's all for him possible. And he's currently doing that. He delivers very good races, he overtakes well.

"Only the mistakes in qualifying are there. That was always his weakness. Even when we saw juniors years ago in Estoril. [Daniel] Ricciardo and Perez were very young at the time. We have qualifying runs and Simulated long runs. The two were the fastest, but Perez wasn't there in qualifying."

After edging Ferrari's Charles Leclerc to finish as the runner-up in last Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix, Perez will be looking to consolidate second spot when racing returns for the Dutch GP on August 27. On home turf, team-mate Verstappen is aiming for a ninth successive victory which would put him in an even stronger position to make it three titles on the bounce.

Nathan Ridley

Print page

Comments:

comments powered by Disqus