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verstappen perez red bull

Schumacher: Perez days at Red Bull are numbered

verstappen perez red bull Schumacher: Perez days at Red Bull are numbered

Ralf Schumacher added to a growing chorus slamming Sergio Perez for his no-shows that have allowed Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen to gobble up nine wins in a row and canter off with the 2023 Formula 1 World Championship.

It seems longer than it should be recalling Perez’s great victory at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, beating Max fair and square on that day in Baku. But since then, Verstappen has found another gear or two or Perez has lost his mojo or a combo of both those factors.

Whatever the case, F1 title number three has Verstappen’s name engraved on it. Without much challenge from the guy in the sister car and the only other winner this year – Perez.

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He is simply not delivering according to Michael Schumacher’s younger brother, former F1 driver turned Sky F1 Germany pundit Ralf who offered this brutal assessment of the Mexican veteran’s wayward Dutch Grand Prix weekend: “Sergio Perez once again made a mistake when he drove into the barriers at the entrance to the pits.

“This also resulted in a penalty that cost him second place in the end. I think his days at Red Bull are numbered. Dr. Helmut Marko isn’t exactly known for his warm-hearted way of dealing with Perez and I think that Perez as a guy can’t deal with it so well, that’s how I explain these serious mistakes.”

Red Bull are out of drivers

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“Perez looked very grumpy, disappointed and also absent all weekend. I think that there were already agreements about a separation after the end of the season,” reckoned Schumacher.

As for Verstappen’s remarkable ninth victory in a row, a third on home soil at Zandvoort, Ralf said: “He dominates Formula 1 at will. But it’s hard to say whether he’ll be able to win all the races by the end of the season. Of course, it’s possible, but at some point, he’ll probably have bad luck. That’s probably the only thing that can stop him because he’s just doing a great job.”

Starting the season with Verstappen and Perez in the Red Bull senior team, as well as Yuki Tsunoda and Nyck de Vries in their junior AlphaTauri team. Since then the latter was sent packing, replaced by Daniel Ricciardo, who last weekend at Zandvoort, broke his wrist, to be replaced by Liam Lawson who made his F1 debut at Sunday’s Dutch GP. No more subs are allowed according to F1 rules.

Nevertheless, hapless Ricciardo made it clear, before his accident, that he is eying the garage next to Verstappen should or when Perez gets his marching orders from RBR.

Schumacher: I could imagine Lando Norris becoming Verstappen’s new teammate

ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - AUGUST 26: Pole position qualifier Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing and Second placed qualifier Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren celebrates in parc ferme during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of The Netherlands at Circuit Zandvoort on August 26, 2023 in Zandvoort, Netherlands. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202308260405 // Usage for editorial use only //

But Schumacher thinks not and has other ideas: “I could imagine Lando Norris becoming Verstappen’s new teammate. The two seem to be good friends. I assume that Verstappen will ultimately decide who will be his teammate. This is nothing unusual. That was already the case with Senna, my brother also had this privilege.

“When a driver like Verstappen contributes so much to the team’s success, I also think it’s good that you have his back as hassle-free as possible,” concluded Schumacher.

Notably, Perez’s lack of performance relative to Verstappen appears to be a far bigger concern to pundits and fans than the World Champions themselves. Understandably so as RBR have operated best as a one-man team. Much like Ferrari did with Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel with Red Bull and Mercedes more recently with Lewis Hamilton.

Verstappen and RBR have the formula spot-on as their relentless dominance shows. Hence the ‘problem’ of a below-par number two driver is hardly a problem as such. Ask Rubens Barrichello, Eddie Irvine, Mark Webber, Valtteri Bottas and the like.

The 25-year-old Dutchman heads to the Italian Grand Prix at Monza this weekend, where he will be targeting his tenth win in a row, to take the outright record he now shares with Vettel. And of course, take another step closer to an inevitable third title.