It is a known story that both Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg were on Red Bull’s radar, in case it didn’t go well with Alex Albon. However, Dr. Helmut Marko, Red Bull advisor, revealed when the two drivers approached the team regarding the vacant number two seat.
The two former teammates apparently showed their interest in igniting talks with Red Bull right after the Italian Grand Prix.
Speaking to Motorsport-total, Marko spoke about the exact timeline of Red Bull starting negotiations with the two former Force India drivers and finally choosing Perez.
“Both of them asked us,” he said. “In autumn, at the Italian races, it got more intense.”
The fight for the second seat in Red Bull could have gone to the wire, had Hulkenberg raced this year as a full-time driver. The German received just three chances, with one ending before the race even begun.
Meanwhile, Perez had an entire season with him to impress the four-time constructor’s champions, which he did in style. He portrayed some tremendous tire-management skills and race-craft.
Eventually, the fight reached nowhere, as the Mexican stood out as the best answer to Red Bull’s 2021 concerns.
Marko opened up about whether Red Bull took the initiative of giving Hulkenberg a heads-up before revealing their decision to sign Perez for 2021. Apparently, Marko took the task into his own hands and called Hulkenberg to let him know that Red Bull had decided against opting for the German.
“I called him ten minutes beforehand and told him that unfortunately, it wouldn’t work,” Marko said.
Marko also spoke about when Red Bull knew Checo was the right person to drive that car. Well, it was apparently his drive throughout the Sakhir GP race. However, it wasn’t about how he recovered from the lap 1 misery.
Instead, it was about how he paced as fast as George Russell in Mercedes, who was on a fresh set of tires. Perez also mentioned, following the race, that he could have won the race even if Russell had not suffered that late-puncture.
Overall, it looks like the Austrian-based team are pretty optimistic about having Perez in the team. Consequently, the expectations will definitely be sky-high.
The only question is, can Perez live up to it? Is he the driver who is going to beat the dominant Max Verstappen? Only time will tell.