Lewis Hamilton says Sergio Pérez’s arrival at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing makes the team stronger and makes for tougher strategy decisions as he expects the team to now have two cars at the front of the field.
Pérez has joined Max Verstappen at Red Bull, with the Mexican replacing Alexander Albon, but Verstappen has often been the sole Red Bull driver involved in the fight for the victory against Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton has likened Albon’s time with the team to his own experience alongside Heikki Kovalainen at the McLaren F1 Team in 2008 and 2009 where he felt he was fighting alone against the two Scuderia Ferrari drivers, Felipe Massa and Kimi Räikkönen.
Pérez joining Red Bull should ensure both drivers are in contention at the front of the field, and as such, Mercedes will have a much tougher fight on their hands compared to recent years.
“With all due respect to Alex, in the races that we’ve had, it’s been me and Valtteri [Bottas] against Max,” Hamilton is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “Now I’ve been in the position that Max is in, where once, particularly when I was at McLaren, where I was the lead car, and then the second car wasn’t in the fight.
“So, when we’re fighting against Ferrari, they could really move around with the strategy, and make it a lot harder for us. So, I think naturally, this makes Red Bull stronger, particularly with the way Sergio is performing.
“I think Sergio has driven incredibly well this year, and truly deserved a drive. So I was so happy to hear that he’s been taken on by one of the top teams, and given this opportunity. I think it’s going to be an exciting battle to watch him up against Max. And that’s going to make it much harder for us as a team.
“So, we’re going to have to really step up our game, because that’s going to be a battle we’ve not seen for some time, in terms of having the two drivers there, fighting against us.
“But we relish that as a team, that’s what we work towards. We love the challenge, and it’s gonna make it that much more exciting.”