Perez lacking confidence next to Verstappen – Bottas

Fri, 22 December 2023, 09:00

Dec.22 (GMM) The key to Sergio Perez upping his game and hanging onto his Red Bull seat beyond 2024 is confidence.

That is the view of Valtteri Bottas, who was at Mercedes for five years throughout his then teammate Lewis Hamilton’s championship-winning reign.

Bottas, though, says he never stopped believing in himself.

“As before, I believe that on a good day I can beat anyone,” said the Finn, who after losing his Mercedes seat switched to Sauber.

According to Red Bull boss Christian Horner, the ball is in Mexican Perez’s court in terms of him proving next year that he deserves to remain Max Verstappen’s teammate.

“It’s Checo’s to lose,” he said.

“He is our 2024 driver and if he does a great job next year there is no reason we wouldn’t extend him into 2025, but it will be purely based on what he achieves over the large part of the season.

“We have options in the wings,” Horner added, referring to Daniel Ricciardo but perhaps also Yuki Tsunoda. “There is also a lot of interest from outside the team as well, so as long as you’re competitive it puts you in a luxury position to just take your time.”

Bottas, who is currently holidaying in South Australia, thinks the missing ingredient for Perez is confidence.

“Exactly,” he answered when asked by if every driver on the Formula 1 grid should believe they can beat Verstappen.

“You can’t go into a race weekend thinking it’s impossible to win. Then you’ve already lost. This is a sport, and you should always have confidence in your own abilities.

“If you don’t have that confidence, you end up in a complex downward spiral. I would say that when I look at what Checo is going through, he definitely lacks confidence. And you can see it in the results.”

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