Sergio Perez’s recent victories and his ability to defeat Max Verstappen on the track have positioned him as a serious contender to challenge the reigning double Formula 1 World Champion, a fact that Jenson Button highlighted in a recent interview
With former McLaren teammate Button backing Perez’s chances, the Mexican driver is considered to be the first real challenger to Verstappen since the days of Daniel Ricciardo. This article explores Perez’s recent successes, the growing expectations surrounding his performance, and the key factors that have contributed to his rise as a potential title contender.
Sergio Perez’s exceptional performance in Baku, where he secured his sixth career victory, showcased his ability to compete at the highest level. Following a win in the Sprint Race, Perez seized the opportunity to defeat Verstappen in a thrilling head-to-head fight during the main Grand Prix.
Although inheriting the lead due to a Safety Car intervention, Perez’s tenacity and skill on hard tyres propelled him to victory. This triumph not only solidified his position as a formidable competitor but also ignited discussions about his chances of outperforming Verstappen in the battle for F1 outrights 2023.
Button’s Perspective and Expectations and Comparisons to the Ricciardo Era
When Daniel Ricciardo raced alongside Verstappen at Red Bull between 2016 and 2018, he proved to be the last driver capable of truly challenging the Dutchman. Ricciardo’s four wins during his tenure with the team highlighted the rarity of finding a teammate who could match Verstappen’s pace and skill.
Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon, who followed Ricciardo, struggled to replicate his success. However, with Perez currently on equal footing with Verstappen, having both secured two wins each in the opening rounds of the season, the racing world is witnessing the emergence of a new challenger who could potentially dethrone Verstappen.
Jenson Button, a former World Champion and Perez’s teammate during their time at McLaren, shares his belief in Perez’s capabilities. Button, a former World Champion, boldly declares, “Sergio Perez is the first driver to seriously challenge Max Verstappen since Daniel Ricciardo.” Button sees the 2023 season as Perez’s best opportunity to win the championship, given his recent performances and the absence of a genuine challenger for Verstappen in the past few years.
Button commends Perez’s confidence, which was evident in his sprint race win and a subsequent statement that he would replicate his success in the main event. The presence of a strong contender like Perez adds an exciting dynamic to the season and raises the level of competition in Formula 1.
Perez’s mental strength and car understanding serve him well
The Mexican attributes his success as Verstappen’s teammate to his mental fortitude and deep understanding of the car’s concept. Surviving as Verstappen’s teammate is no easy task, considering the consistent winning performances of the Dutch prodigy. Perez acknowledges the challenges faced by previous teammates and credits his mental resilience as his greatest strength.
Furthermore, he emphasizes the importance of thoroughly comprehending the intricacies of the car and employing effective strategies to elevate his performance. Perez’s dedication to mastering the technical aspects of his role has undoubtedly contributed to his ability to compete at such a high level.
Sergio Perez’s recent victories and his ability to challenge and defeat Max Verstappen have established him as a serious contender for the 2023 title. With Jenson Button endorsing his chances and highlighting the lack of a true challenger for Verstappen in recent years, Perez’s emergence has injected excitement into the Formula 1 season.
Perez’s mental strength and comprehensive understanding of the car have been vital factors in his rise as a potential title contender. As the season progresses, all eyes will be on Perez as he strives to fulfill his potential and potentially claim the 2023 title, making Formula 1 a thrilling spectacle for fans around the world.
Please share your thoughts on Jenson Button’s statement in the comment section below, where he claims that Sergio Perez is the first driver to pose a challenge to Max Verstappen since Daniel Ricciardo.