Perez embraces Verstappen’s excellence: ‘He’s my best reference’


If you can’t beat them join them, and that’s what Sergio Perez will continue to do with his Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen next season when he sets his sight on F1’s top prize.

Perez enjoyed a flying start to his 2023 campaign, the Mexican trading wins with teammate Max Verstappen in the opening races of the season.

But it all slowly dissolved into a mound of mistakes and setbacks for the Mexican who, despite being armed with the best machine in the field, was unable to turn around his fortunes and challenge Verstappen’s unwavering supremacy.

Perez’s form improved however in the final leg of the season which allowed him to crucially fend off Lewis Hamilton for the runner-up spot in the Drivers’ championship.

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His aim for 2024? To go one better and bring home the title, a very tall order.

“That’s the main target for me,” Perez said. “I’ve already finished second, my main interest is to do one better.

“I’m aware of the challenge that it is. We’ve got to really take this winter time to try to start the season on a high and be able to maintain that level of consistency throughout the season.”

For any driver, racing alongside Verstappen is a momentous task given the Dutchman’s exceptional talent and skills and fiercely competitive mindset.

But it’s also an opportunity to learn from the number one driver on the grid. And Perez has embraced the chance to leverage Verstappen’s excellence to elevate his own performance.

“Our relationship is really good,” he said. “I think the whole engineering, when we are in all those briefings through so many races, I think it’s been good.

“We’ve been pushing at times in different directions, but at the same time we’ve [often] been strongly asking for the same stuff. So that also has been positive for the team.

“Definitely there are things that you learn from him. I think I have the best reference out there because he was the one who was so competitive.

“So I think there’s no harm in looking at what he’s doing, how he’s doing it and trying to learn and improve, see what works for you that he’s doing differently to you.

“I think I’ve always had a very open approach and I think it’s something that works well.”

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