Finally, the moment that the F1 community has been keenly waiting for has arrived. It seems as if we were awaiting this decision for ages. The Red Bull Racing team is giving Sergio Perez a drive next to Max Verstappen for next season as Alex Albon makes an exit.
It is a hugely popular move by the energy drinks team. At last, they are paying heed to the demands from the fans.
In some ways, the Mexican deserves the drive as he was in the form of his life this past season. He finished in fourth place in the driver’s standings and also earned the highest points in a season, in his F1 career.
He also entered his name in the F1 record books by winning his maiden race in Sakhir after 180 race starts. Not to forget that he came back from the back of the grid to win.
After all this, it is a little odd that Racing Point let him go. Although one can understand their reasons for replacing him with a four-time champion in Sebastian Vettel. It has proved to be a blessing in disguise, as the Red Bull move gives him a chance to compete for podiums and race wins more regularly.
Choosing Perez over Albon was the right call. However, was overlooking Nico Hulkenberg for Perez the right one too? No, it was not. However good the Mexican has been this season, the challenges he faces ahead must not blindside the fans.
Overcoming Max Verstappen is a herculean task. The Dutchman outshone his teammate since Daniel Ricciardo left. Even the excellent Aussie had to look for different pastures as competing with Max took a toll on him.
Hulkenberg is an excellent qualifier; the type of driver Red Bull needs to compete from the moment lights go out. He can certainly put the car on the front of the grid more consistently than Perez.
While the Mexican is no slouch in the race trim with his tire management skills, pace over a lap isn’t his greatest skill.
One can do nothing but pray now that he has a better time next to Max than Gasly and Albon. If not, then another driver could bite the dust at Red Bull.