Red Bull chief names surprise F1 driver as ideal Max Verstappen teammate
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Red Bull chief Helmut Marko has revealed who would be the “perfect” team-mate for Max Verstappen.
World champion Verstappen has dominated this year’s championship. At the Belgian Grand Price, the 25-year-old ruthlessly won from sixth on the grid, passing his teammate, Sergio Perez, on lap 17.
By the close Verstappen was 22.3 seconds up the road from his Red Bull colleague, despite the pair being in an identical car.
Rumours are now swirling regarding who will be Verstappen’s partner next year following what’s likely to be his third successive championship-winning campaign.
Indeed, Perez’s recent struggles in qualifying have seen his form come into question, despite still performing well when it comes to race day.
The 80-year-old told Motorsport-Total.com: "That's the right thought. The two would be the perfect qualifying and race combination.”
Nevertheless, Marko dismissed the prospect of dropping Perez ahead of 2024.
"We have a contract with Perez until the end of 2024," he stressed. "He's second in the World Championship. Why would there be a need for action?"
Marko claimed that Perez needs to "find himself again" over the course of the final races and suggests that coming to terms with not winning the title may benefit him.
"He has now woken up from his World Championship dream," Marko explained. "Maybe that will help him to concentrate on getting the best possible performance again.
"Verstappen is a completely different benchmark. The fact that Perez has to be within three-tenths of Max is interpreted benevolently by us. Sometimes it was more.
"Perez is second in the World Championship. That's all for him possible. And he's currently doing that. He delivers very good races, he overtakes well.
"Only the mistakes in qualifying are there. That was always his weakness. Even when we saw juniors years ago in Estoril. [Daniel] Ricciardo and Perez were very young at the time. We have qualifying runs and Simulated long runs. The two were the fastest, but Perez wasn't there in qualifying."