Helmut Marko believes signing Sergio Perez was the 'right decision' for Red Bull
Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko thinks Sergio Perez has proven to the team it was the “right decision” for them to sign him.
Perez lagged behind Max Verstappen at certain races during the 2021 season but took his first victory for Red Bull at a frantic Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Verstappen had the upper hand at almost every weekend for Red Bull and while Perez took criticism for his qualifying performances, he was often able to recover through the field – but at a cost of being able to be an effective rear gunner to his team-mate in the race.
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He has subsequently earned a new deal to stay with Red Bull next season though, having impressed enough and improved as the season progressed.
Marko praised the job he did in holding up Lewis Hamilton at the race in Abu Dhabi as that enabled Verstappen to close up behind him at a rate of knots – which he said was “ideal” for the new World Champion’s hopes.
“Checo had his ups and downs,” Marko told Formel1.de, quoted by Motorsport.com. “One of the weak moments was in qualifying, to a certain extent. When you start eighth, ninth or 11th, it takes too long to be able to support Max. By that, I mean the possibility of the Safety Car [undercut] is gone and things like that.
“But in Abu Dhabi he did an ideal job, and he also helped a lot for Max to get this victory. I remember a similar situation in Turkey where he also crossed Hamilton and where it also took him a long time to pass Perez.”
Before Perez was confirmed as Alex Albon’s replacement, talk had swirled that he or Nico Hulkenberg would have been primed to take Albon’s position after the end of the season.
Marko admitted the German’s name had been in the frame to get the drive at Red Bull and acknowledged Perez’s qualifying performances have not made the grade at times.
That said, however, he feels the team have chosen well in getting the former Racing Point man to partner Verstappen.
“It’s difficult to say because we don’t have Hulkenberg in the car. But Perez has shown he has incredible experience when everything is right for him, and he has driven in many races at Max’s pace.
“Because of the bad starting positions it came into play, but overall it was the right decision.”
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