Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas agree that it’s great that Sergio Perez will finally get a chance to sit behind the wheel of a competing car, and they believe his arrival will make Red Bull a stronger opponent. After the last race of the season, Red Bull decided to replace Albon with Perez, making them the last team to complete their lineup for 2021, and Perez was the only option to stay in F1 2021 because he was not interested in the offers of worse teams.
Perez had the best season of his career, finishing in fourth place although he missed two races due to coronavirus infection and gave up two of the last three races of the season due to technical problems. This is the first time since 2007 that Red Bull has decided to hire a driver outside its own young driver drive because the last two seasons neither Gasly nor Albon have been up to the task with Verstappen.
Hamilton and Bottas believe Red Bull will be a stronger opponent next year as they will have two drivers who will be closer to each other. “With all due respect to Alex, only Valtteri and I fought Max in the races,” Hamilton said.
“I was in the position Max was in, especially when I was at McLaren when I was the lead car and the other car wasn’t in a fight,” Hamilton said referring to 2008 when his teammate was Kovalainen. "So when we fought Ferrari [Raikkonen and Massa] they could play with strategy and make our lives a lot harder."
“That’s why I think this will make Red Bull stronger, especially because of the way Sergio drives. I think he drove incredibly well this year and he really deserved this place. ” "I was so happy to hear that he took a place on one of the top teams and that he got this opportunity."
"It will be very interesting to watch him and Max fight, and that will make our job much harder. We will have to raise our level because it will be a fight we haven't seen in a while because we will have two drivers to fight against.
” Bottas added that he is very happy for Perez and that he thinks he deserves a place in F1 after Aston Martin decided to bring Vettel. "I'm definitely very happy for Sergio, I think he deserves a place in F1 and now he's in one of the top teams so that's good news," Bottas said.
"I have a feeling that the fight with Red Bull may be a bit harder, but at the moment it's just speculation. We'll have to wait until next year to see. But yes, it should be interesting. ” Verstappen added that he is looking forward to having a teammate who will pressure him to be better.
"I hope Checo will be the one to push the whole team forward, but also keep me on my toes, which is always nice… having a teammate pressing you is exciting." Bottas added that he is very happy for Perez and that he thinks he deserves a place in F1 after Aston Martin decided to bring Vettel.
"I'm definitely very happy for Sergio, I think he deserves a place in F1 and now he's in one of the top teams so that's good news," Bottas said.