Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko praised their new driver Sergio Perez, who played a key role in the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi, but also warned of his greatest weakness. Sergio Perez arrived at Red Bull from Racing Point in 2021, where he finally achieved his first victory in the tenth F1 season, and from the beginning, it was known that his role was to help Max Verstappen when needed and win as many points for the constructors' championship.
Pierre Gasly and Alexander Albon, who were on average significantly slower than Max Verstappen and failed to be an important factor in the races in which Red Bull had a chance to win, had previously failed in that role. Although Sergio Perez delighted in the second qualifiers of the season in Imola, where he beat Max Verstappen and almost won pole position, this was an exception since Verstappen beat him in all the remaining qualifiers of the season, and the win ratio is a staggering 10: 1, and it could have been 11-0 if Verstappen had not had a flat tire in Azerbaijan.
Still, Sergio Perez did a great job for Max Verstappen and Red Bull several times, for example in Turkey when he successfully defended against chasing Lewis Hamilton whom he slowed down in the last race of the season and helped Verstappen get a chance to win at the end of the race.
"What Checo did was amazing," Verstappen told Red Bull's ServusTV. “In the end, he saved us the race because Mercedes couldn’t get into the pits behind the safety car [they didn’t have enough advantage over Verstappen].
Without Checo, of course, I would not have become a world champion. "
Helmut Marko on Sergio Perez's weakness
Marko added that Sergio Perez is ‘incredibly loyal’, but that his biggest weakness is his speed in qualifying as he was on average more than half a second slower than Max Verstappen.
“He is incredibly loyal, a real team player. Of course, we discussed different scenarios and he delivered them, without whining, protesting, and questioning, "said Marko. “He slowed down Hamilton by eight seconds in two laps, but in a very fair way.
Of course, he [Hamilton] mentioned 'dangerous driving' again. " "This is not the first time that Checo has shown these skills, for example, it was the same in Turkey where he also fought with Hamilton." "There is one weakness, the qualifications. But his racing speed is perfectly in place. ”
• Helmut Marko (80) has the strength to help Red Bull• Sergio Perez on expectations and the season behind him• Helmut Marko confident Max Verstappen has room for further improvement• Christian Horner's interesting reaction to Sergio Perez's season• Max Verstappen explains prioritizing Sergio Perez in Abu Dhabi F1 pit stop• Christian Horner on the advice he gave Sergio Perez after Mexico