Jul.9 (GMM) Max Verstappen says he can win the constructors’ world championship for Red Bull “on my own” in 2023.
The Dutchman was speaking at Silverstone after securing yet another pole – while teammate Sergio Perez failed to make Q3 for the fifth round on the trot.
“I often find it difficult in these changing conditions,” Mexican Perez said afterwards. “As a team we have to understand why that is.”
It is clear the pressure on Perez is mounting, but for now Dr Helmut Marko is keep his own criticism in check.
“He has to get that under control,” said the top team official when asked about Perez’s P16 in qualifying. “He’s lucky that it’s a track where overtaking is possible.
“But if one driver is first and the other is 16th, that doesn’t quite fit together. It’s been a weakness in his past but it’s just too common now.”
However, Marko denied that Perez is now like Alpha Tauri’s Nyck de Vries – with the Dutch rookie struggling to hold onto his race seat.
“The races are what distinguishes him from Nyck de Vries,” said Marko. “So there’s no need for action at the moment. And there’s no one who could replace him anyway.
“Then he also has a teammate who doesn’t make any mistakes and is clearly faster. As a racing driver, you first have to cope with that.
“Who do you want us to put in that car? Everyone is struggling against Max,” Marko continued. “All of the interesting people have a contract, and nothing is coming from the junior formulas at the moment.”
Marko said Perez, 33, was also a victim of “bad luck” in British GP qualifying.
“The moment he was on the track was not the right one. He dropped out by a few hundredths,” said the 80-year-old Austrian.
“But he really needs to improve, because this is not the first time. Luckily with the DRS advantage of our car it should be possible for him to score points.”
Fascinatingly, however, Verstappen is also starting to get critical of his current teammate.
“With our car you should be in Q3 so I don’t know why something went wrong with him today,” said the Dutchman.
When asked what Red Bull thinks of the situation, Verstappen added: “You should ask Helmut or Christian (Horner).
“Obviously we are fighting for victory in the constructors’ championship as well but I think I could do that on my own at the moment.”
Daniel Ricciardo, Verstappen’s former teammate who is now Red Bull reserve, admitted at Silverstone that he might consider a return to the grid next year with Alpha Tauri.
But Verstappen may believe the Australian is a better bet than the struggling Perez at Red Bull Racing.
“Daniel is doing a good job in the simulator, which doesn’t surprise me either, because he hasn’t lost his talent,” the 25-year-old is quoted by nu.nl. “I think he’s comfortable with us.”
Ricciardo, 33, will even test the championship-leading car in the post-British GP tyre test next week.
“He listens a lot and asks a lot,” said Verstappen. “I know Daniel very well, so we can talk about a lot of things.”
As for Ricciardo replacing Perez, however, he smiled: “I’m not talking about that.”