Perez has ‘nothing to lose’ racing Verstappen
By Mat Coch
Sunday 21st March, 2021 - 7:37am
Sergio Perez is unperturbed by the prospect of going head-to-head with Max Verstappen throughout the 2021 Formula 1 season.
Embarking on his 11th season in the sport, Perez has moved to Red Bull following a seven-year stint with Racing Point (nee Force India).
His tenure there ended after it was announced Sebastian Vettel would join Lance Stroll at the rebranded operation (now known as Aston Martin) for 2021.
Perez was quickly linked to Red Bull in place of the struggling Alex Albon, though was only confirmed at the team following the conclusion of the 2020 season.
It will see the Mexican join the highly rated Verstappen at the squad.
“Since I knew I was coming to Red Bull I knew that I’m going to be facing a big challenge, which is Max,” Perez admitted on the Beyond the Grid podcast.
Perez’s first experience of working alongside the Dutchman came at Formula 1’s pre-season test in Bahrain.
The duo shared three days of running in the car, affording both the chance to gain a glimpse of how the other performs.
“He’s a very complete driver. I found no surprises to be honest,” Perez said.
“I just found that he’s a very strong driver all around and it’s going to be a task, a big challenge on myself.
“It’s what I wanted,” he added.
“I wanted to measure against the best in the sport.
“It’s a great challenge and a great opportunity and something that I’m looking so much forward [to].
“The way I see it is I’ve got absolutely nothing to lose in my career.
“I‘ve been lucky enough to have a fantastic career, so whatever comes next is great.”
While testing afforded the opportunity to see how Verstappen works, Perez suggested it was too early to read too much into their relative performances.
“Conditions have been so different in these couple of days for both of us,” he reasoned.
“I haven’t seen enough, you know? He’s driven with a track that is 10-15 degrees cooler at times and vice versa, with the wind changing.
“In the first three or four races I will know more but I can already see that he is a very fast, solid driver.
“He’s a very chilled guy,” he added of Verstappen’s personality.
“[There’s] No political things going on around him. He just enjoys driving and we’ve had good fun in the couple of times we’ve spent together.
“Max is just a young guy that enjoys life and gets on with the driving.”
The opening round of the 2021 Formula 1 season, the Bahrain Grand Prix, gets underway next weekend (March 26-28).