Why Perez could be a better teammate for Verstappen in 2022

18-01-2022 09:02
by GPblog.com
F1 News
Why Perez could be a better teammate for Verstappen in 2022

Sergio Perez was brought in at Red Bull Racing as the experienced second driver alongside Max Verstappen. In his first year, the Mexican had a strong finish, but the rest of his season was shaky. However, his past results show that he is almost always stronger in his second season.

Slow start at Red Bull

Perez is entering his twelfth season in Formula One and his second at Red Bull Racing. Perez should provide more support as Verstappen's teammate over a full year than was the case in 2021. He was essential in the closing stages of the season with a strong performance in Abu Dhabi, but over a full year he scored too few points to help Red Bull to the constructors' title.

Although Perez drove for Force India/Racing Point for most of his career (seven of eleven seasons), he also made several switches. Some switches were better liked than others. His adventure at McLaren, for example, was short-lived, but the move to Force India worked out very well for the Mexican.

At the end of 2020, he had to leave that team and got the chance at Red Bull Racing. In his first year, he lost the duel to his teammate by a large margin. Perez did not finish ahead of Verstappen in a race where both finished, qualified only once faster than the Dutchman, averaged 0.433s slower in those qualifiers over the whole season and scored 205.5 points less than his direct opponent.

Sergio 'Diesel' Perez

Year Teammate Race duel Points
2011 Kamui Kobayashi 4-7 14-30
2012 Kamui Kobayashi 6-4 66-60

Sauber Statistics 2011-2012

Still, past performances offer hope for Perez, as in his second year with a team he always managed to perform better than in the first season. On his debut for Sauber in 2011, he lost the internal duel to Kamui Kobayashi. He finished only four times ahead of the Japanese driver when they both finished and scored sixteen fewer points.

In 2012, it was a different story. Then Perez finished ahead of Kobayashi more often than the other way around (6 to 4) and also scored six more points. In addition, Perez also scored three podium finishes in his second season, including a second place in Malaysia. Those performances earned him a move to McLaren.

Year Teammate Race duel Points
2014 Nico Hulkenberg 7-8 59-96
2015 Nico Hulkenberg 6-7 78-58
2016 Nico Hulkenberg 8-7 101-72

Force India Statistics 2014-2016

Although the move to McLaren proved unsuccessful, Perez did showcase his talent at Force India. In his first year, he still struggled against Nico Hulkenberg, but in his second season, the Mexican again scored more points than his teammate. He did not win the racing duel in his second year from Hulkenberg, but unlike the German, Perez did score four podium finishes in their three years together.

The ideal teammate for Verstappen?

Of course, Verstappen is a size bigger than Kamui Kobayashi, Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Ocon. The Dutchman closed a huge gap with Perez in 2021, and the Mexican had not experienced that before. Jenson Button beat him by big numbers at McLaren in 2013, but even then the differences were not as big as with Verstappen.

It is therefore not to be expected that Perez will suddenly attack the Dutchman in 2022, but given his career you can expect an upward trend. He should be able to sit closer to Verstappen in qualifying, score more points and finish ahead of the Dutchman in several races. Then Red Bull really has the ideal second man in house.

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