Max Verstappen casts doubt on Sergio Perez’s future at Red Bull as three-time world champion says he doesn’t know who will partner him next year
- Sergio Perez is in danger of losing second place in drivers’ championship
- He has a 20-point advantage over Lewis Hamilton with three rounds to go
- Daniel Ricciardo, currently at AlphaTauri, could take his place at Red Bull
Max Verstappen has cast doubt on Sergio Perez’s future at Red Bull, saying he doesn’t know who will partner him next year.
The Mexican, 33, is struggling for form and in danger of losing second place in the drivers’ championship to Lewis Hamilton.
His advantage is a diminishing 20 points with three rounds remaining, starting with this weekend’s sprint format in Sao Paulo.
While Red Bull are keen to let Perez prove himself, they are also looking at reserve options in case he flunks his reprieve. Losing out to Hamilton would be a serious curse on his chances of survival.
The most available alternative is Daniel Ricciardo, the 34-year former Red Bull man who impressed in Mexico City last weekend, in contrast to Perez, who crashed off at the first corner in a moment of over-exuberance.
Max Verstappen says he has a great relationship with Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez
The Mexican is in danger of losing second place in drivers’ championship to Lewis Hamilton
With Ricciardo at Red Bull’s junior team AlphaTauri, the swap could be made in a trice with Perez swapping places. Both have contracts in place for next season.
But speaking at Interlagos, Verstappen seemed to suggest no decision has yet been taken ‘I always had a great relationship with Daniel (in five years together prior to Ricciardo’s move to Renault in 2019) and I have a great relationship with Sergio so it is unfair for me to say who I would prefer to have as a team-mate.
‘It is not up to me to make these decisions. If it is Sergio next year, then great. It if is Daniel, then we will also get along fine and we will have a great time. F1 can be a tough sport, but maybe also nothing happens. We will see.’
Ricciardo played down the imminence of a switch, saying he had not spoken to Red Bull. ‘All the stuff around my contract has been related to AlphaTauri, said the Australian. ‘Having a weekend like Mexico was good for the soul. The team jumped two places in the constructors in two weekends, which was huge. That creates a very happy atmosphere. I will keep charging on.’
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