The legend of the Red Bull second seat has been one told of far and wide. From Daniel Ricciardo’s exit to the cases of trial and error of Gasly and Albon and finally, for now, Sergio Perez. To put it simply, it’s not easy dueling alongside the Dutch Lion of Milton Keynes, yet somehow, Perez survived his first year in the hot seat. According to Helmut Marko, looking back at the season gone by, Perez was the one they were looking for.
Before Perez, there were a lot of covetous eyes on the 2020 Red Bull seat. Mostly from Pierre Gasly, who expected a comeback after taking his Toro Rosso to the top of the podium; but more strongly, Nico Hulkenberg.
Having been shown the door by Renault in 2019, Hulkenberg had the spirit and the experience that Red Bull could’ve worked with. But then came Sergio Perez fresh out of his celebrations after the 2020 Sakhir GP. In an absolutely stupendous drive from the back of the grid to the highest step of the rostrum, Perez had Red Bull’s attention.
He had the relentlessness that is a characteristic of a Red Bull driver and thus would’ve fit perfectly, and he did. Looking back, Helmut Marko revealed he is now assured of the decision made. “It is difficult to say because we do not have Hulkenberg in the car.
But Pérez has shown that he has an incredible experience when everything is going well for him, and he has driven many races at the pace of Max. Because of the poor starting positions, he came into play, but overall it was the right decision.”
Sergio Perez proved himself to Red Bull
In all honesty, apart from the race win in Baku, the first half of the Mexican’s debut season with Red Bull wasn’t impressive, and also a little worrying. As the summer break approached, the driver’s market was opening up; once again, Gasly was ready to take on the second Bull. However, Perez had his contract extended. Now, it was time to prove himself. “I’ve been in this position before, and I will turn things around, I have no doubt.”
And he did just that. From the defense at the Turkish GP to crucially pressurizing Hamilton in Abu Dhabi, Perez has more than proven himself. Although a little late, he helped Red Bull climb extremely close to Mercedes in the constructors’ championship; but he also fulfilled his role in the second seat.
Now, it’s the 2022 season- a better chance for a stronger start from the Mexican who is now accustomed to working with a leading team. Will the Checo magic grace the upcoming season as well? We wouldn’t doubt it.