Max Verstappen hopes Sergio Pérez’s arrival at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing can help the Milton Keynes-based squad fight more with the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team after the Mexican was announced to replace Alexander Albon for the 2021 season.
Verstappen has often been the lone Red Bull driver against both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in the past two seasons, with first Pierre Gasly and then Albon being given the tough task of being the Dutchman’s team-mate.
Mercedes have often been able to cover anything Verstappen tried to get ahead of them as they had two cars involved in the fight, but he hopes that with Pérez joining the team, the team can make it much more difficult for them at the front of the field.
“It’s more that we’ll have a second car which is capable of being up there as well the whole race and trying to put a bit of pressure [on],” said Verstappen to Motorsport.com. “For example, like in Abu Dhabi, at the end, Alex was quite close.
“Most of the time, Mercedes try to go for an extra stop or whatever, and then I’m in more difficulties, because most of the time when we were quite competitive this year, I was the only car trying to beat them, and tried to do something different.
“But they can always do the right strategy with one of them, because they will always cover me with one car, so it was always a bit difficult to fight them. I just hope that Checo will be the one to first of all push the whole team forward, but also keep me on my toes, which is always nice.
“To have a team-mate pushing you, it’s exciting. Hopefully we can, with a bit more of a competitive car from the start, make it just a bit more interesting and difficult for them to make decisions.”
Verstappen revealed that he had told Team Principal Christian Horner and Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko his feelings about who should be in the second seat in 2021, acknowledging there needed to be a strong individual in the car if they are to genuinely take the attack to Mercedes.
“Of course we spoke about it, and I just give my honest opinion,” said Verstappen. “I think it was quite clear that throughout the whole year, it was sometimes quite a bit tricky for Alex. He is a great guy, honestly, and I’m happy that he’s part of the team still.
“But at the end of the day, of course it’s Helmut [Marko] and Christian and of course Dietrich [Mateschitz] making the decisions. Of course I knew a bit before. But at the end of the day that doesn’t matter.”