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'Perez can do more damage to Hamilton than Bottas to Verstappen'
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'Perez can do more damage to Hamilton than Bottas to Verstappen'

19-10-2021 07:33 Last update: 09:01


The battle for the world title is between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, but for this the battle between Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez is also crucial. At The Race they analyse which of the two will play a bigger role.

The power of Bottas

Verstappen is at the top of the drivers' standings, but it is Mercedes that leads the constructors' standings. This is mainly due to Bottas, who has managed to create a large gap with his counterpart at Red Bull Racing. Bottas is due to leave Mercedes at the end of the season, but doesn't seem to have lost any of his speed yet.

''Perez has a real taste for wheel-to-wheel battle and doesn’t give an inch in defence, as we saw as recently as Turkey against Hamilton. Bottas can sometimes be great in defence, other times ineffective. But Perez too often qualifies behind slower cars and by the time he finds his way past them, the leaders have pulled more than a pitstop’s-worth of gap over him, making him of limited use to Verstappen’s race'', Mark Hughes begins.

Scott Mitchell therefore expects Bottas to play a bigger role. ''It's more likely that Bottas will qualify at the front and through the start that can always yield more. Perez has had some strong Grands Prix, but really gets into his rhythm in the latter part of the race. By then it's sometimes too late.''

Is Perez causing more damage?

''Bottas has more often been a factor in the world championship fight between Verstappen and Hamilton. But Perez is the one who has arguably shown the potential to make bigger individual interventions. Perez’s qualifying has been a problem and it’s difficult to see that changing over the remaining six races, so he’s less often right at the sharp end. But as we saw in Turkey, where he held firm in battle with Hamilton and ultimately did take points off him by finishing ahead, when he’s in the right place he can stand his ground,'' said Edd Straw.

''Perez has only occasionally been in a position to bother Hamilton, but if he is even once in the final six races, he arguably has the right toolkit to be more problematic to Hamilton than Bottas, who is more likely to be there but can sometimes be brushed aside too easily. If a big moment arises, it’s Perez who is likely to be the larger threat than Bottas'', Straw concludes.

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