Bottas relates to Perez Verstappen scrap after losing battle with Hamilton
By Ian Parkes
Friday 5th May, 2023 - 6:33am
Valtteri Bottas has urged Sergio Perez to ‘work on all areas’ inside Red Bull if he is to convince the team he has what it takes to beat team-mate Max Verstappen in this year’s F1 title fight.
Bottas knows too well what Perez is going through after spending five seasons attempting to beat Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, only to end up on the losing side on each occasion.
Following the start of this season, Perez has emerged as Verstappen’s primary rival in the Dutchman’s bid for a third consecutive drivers’ championship.
The Mexican enjoyed a stellar Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend, winning both the sprint and grand prix to close the gap on Verstappen to six points.
Another victory at the temporary ‘street’ circuit around the Miami Dolphins Hard Rock Stadium would catapult Perez into the lead of the drivers’ standings for the first time in his career.
Asked whether he saw any parallels between what occurred himself and Hamilton in comparison to the Verstappen/Perez situation, Alfa Romeo driver Bottas said: “I can kind of relate to him that he’s trying to find something new every year and trying to beat his team-mate.
“He’s had a pretty decent season so far, and time will show, but for sure, it’s not going to be easy.”
Perez can count on Red Bull support – Bottas
Bottas feels the key for Perez is proving he has what it takes to challenge Verstappen at every race weekend, not just on the odd occasion, and particularly around street tracks which the latter is not a fan of.
“You need to get everybody on board, to get the team to believe that you can win,” added Bottas.
“I’m sure he’s working on all the areas, and it is about momentum in the end. When you have a good run of good results, then the whole team is on board, and that’s boosts everything.
“It’s still early in the year, so he still has a great chance of beating Max, and I would imagine at some point, they (Red Bull) are going to decide who is it going to be – but it’s not yet.”
As to whether Perez will 100 percent realistically feel he has the backing of a team that has long thrown its weight behind Verstappen, Bottas said: “I feel like, yes, until a certain point of the season.
“It’s just about how different teams work and what they decide, when they decide, points difference, whatever.
“But yes, they can support both drivers the same and I definitely felt like I had that (with Hamilton at Mercedes). I had the opportunity every year.
“But then at some point, there was a decision, obviously as to who’s going to take it.”
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