F1 Luminary Believes Sergio Perez ‘Would Have Been Destroyed’ for Second-Driver Duties 20 Years Ago

Published 12/26/2021, 9:31 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Mexico City Grand Prix – Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico – November 7, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates with third placed Red Bull’s Sergio Perez after winning the race Pool via REUTERS/Francisco Guasco


The duo of Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen performed exceptionally well in the 2021 season, ensuring a close second finish in the constructors’ championship and of course, the drivers’ title for Verstappen. Perez put up a brilliant example of a team effort in Abu Dhabi after he defended his ground against Lewis Hamilton like a lion, prompting Verstappen to say, “Checo is a legend.” 

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The Red Bull garage and fans lauded Perez for his efforts to help the Dutchman win the title. Former F1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya believes the Mexican would have invited a lot of criticism if he did the same 20 years ago.

Montoya carried an image of someone who could push Schumacher at the height of his powers. The Colombian graced his fans with many moments of racing brilliance during his F1 tenure.

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Montoya takes a different angle with Sergio Perez

Red Bull found the perfect balance in the experience of Sergio Perez and the aggression of Max Verstappen. The two complimented each other this entire season and Perez provided some crucial help to the Dutchman in the last races. Verstappen credited his title to the efforts of the Mexican among many other things.

In a recent interview, former F1 driver Montoya found it funny how the fans reacted to Checo’s efforts in the final.

“It’s funny now how people look at it from that angle,” said Montoya as reported by PlanetF1.

“‘Oh my God, it’s good that Checo got involved and helped Max’. And I think he did a very good job for Max.”

Although he acknowledges that the 31-year-old did a fantastic job, he believes the reaction of fans would have been highly contrasting if Perez did that back in the early 2000s.

“Twenty years ago, if the second driver did that, he would have been destroyed. And if Rubens (Barrichello) ever helped Michael (Schumacher), everyone said ‘oh my God, why are you helping Michael? You gave up a win, a position?'” added the Colombian.

Montoya is not in line with Red Bull decisions

Montoya is not in line with the approach of the team and believes that the Milton Keynes team was counting on luck in the last race. He believes Verstappen and Perez were pushing to a limit where a crash advertently became an option.

“Yes, you’re trying to race, but racing in a way where you really want to get in the way, and Lewis knows if he goes for it they would crash and call it a racing incident and they (Red Bull) were counting on that,” said the 7 Grand Prix winner.

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“Red Bull played all the cards to get it (the title) and in the end they did – luck was on their side. Whether they made the right decisions or not is up to the FIA to analyze,” he added.

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As it stands, the team will go ahead with the same driver line-up for the 2022 season as well. Hopefully, Perez can put some more impressive performances to get rid of the “wingman” title in 2022. Tell us your expectations from Red Bull in 2022.

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Rituraj Tripathi

259 articles

Rituraj Tripathi is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. A true lover of speed, he is big fan of Lewis Hamilton and finds a future world champion in Lando Norris. Rituraj eagerly looks forward to the paddock moving to the Circuit de Monaco, and he finds Portier corner as the most exciting part of the track.

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