Perez: Verstappen challenge ‘makes me want to keep going’

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Sergio Perez says that racing alongside three-time world champion Max Verstappen at Red Bull has always fueled his motivation to “learn and grow”, rather than incited him to change teams.

Ahead of the recent Canadian Grand Prix, Red Bull awarded Perez a two-year extension to his contract with the team that will see him remain at the Milton Keynes-based outfit until the end of 2026.

There’s a stark contrast between the Mexican’s track record with Red Bull since joining the outfit in 2021 and Verstappen’s remarkable performance history during the same period.

While the Dutchman has shown himself to be a very tough nut to crack for his teammate, Perez says that embracing that challenge is a big part of why he remains with Red Bull.

“I love working with this group of mechanics and engineers. Everyone works really hard and gives their all,” the 34-year-old told RACER.

“But love having that challenge of being Max's teammate. That has made me want to keep going, precisely because it is such a challenge. It makes you keep learning and keep growing.

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"You've also seen with other drivers how tough it is. Red Bull is different from any other team in that respect.

"Mentally it takes everything out of you, and you also have to be very strong in your shoes to be able to deal with the pressure within this team."

Perez approaches every race knowing that the young man on the other side of the garage will deliver an outstanding performance, which he uses as motivation to elevate his own skills.

"From the outside there is already a lot going on and inside the team you are dealing with someone who sets the tone by performing at such a high level," he added.

"He is one with the car. If you go to another team with a different team-mate you are on it differently, but this is the challenge I just love."

In addition to defying his teammate this weekend in Spain, Perez will be looking to put himself back on track in Barcelona after enduring two pointless races in succession in Monaco and in Canada.

Perez failed to advance from Q1 at both venues and crashed out of both races, setbacks that have seen him slip to fourth in the Drivers’ championship.

“Coming into Spain I know I need a successful weekend, after a disaster in Canada,” he admitted in Red Bull’s Spanish Grand Prix preview.

“Sometimes you are forced to reset a little and we have done that since the last race. I have been in Milton Keynes working with the Team to try and identify where and what we can do better to ensure I am getting the most out of this car.

“I am confident in the car and the performance we can execute from it, but I need to show that on track better in Barcelona. I always enjoy the Spanish GP, it feels a lot like home and everyone makes me feel so welcome.

“It’s a circuit I know very well and the RB20 should be quick around this type of track, so it’s down to us to get things right and bring home the result we know we are capable of."

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