Marko Lauds Sacrificial Perez for Verstappen Gesture Amidst McLaren F1 Fears at Monza

Published 09/10/2021, 2:30 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 10, 2021 Red Bull’s Sergio Perez after qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Lars Baron


With a Mercedes front row for the sprint qualifying, Red Bull would be a little worried. However, the qualifying session was good for the team on the whole. On a day where McLaren gave a surprisingly powerful performance on the track, Sergio Perez helped push Verstappen to P3.

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Helmut Marko praised Perez despite the Mexican’s P9 qualifying. “We got the best out of it. Great teamwork, thank you to Perez, who gave the tow!” As the cars crossed the checkered flag at the end of Q3, it looked like Verstappen would finish fourth behind Norris. However, Sergio Perez gave Verstappen a slight advantage, helping him push his teammate to the second row.

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Lando Norris had finished Q1 and 2 ahead of Verstappen and looked to repeat the result. Marko feared McLaren‘s impressive pace; it would hurt the team boss to see Verstappen quality behind one. “We are satisfied. We feared that even McLaren would be ahead of us here!” 

What’s looking to be a three-team battle for the podium, the qualifying session gave us a glimpse of what will certainly be a competitive sprint qualifying.

Sergio Perez – the ideal teammate

Red Bull seems to falter on the Monza track; the team’s slow pace was confirmed on Friday. Having extended his contract with the Milton Keynes team, Perez makes up for his performance with his teamwork.

While Helmut Marko was highly critical of Checo, he has always praised him for being a good partner to Verstappen. That’s not to say Perez hasn’t contributed to the team. Red Bull was likely to retain Perez because of his consistent appearance in the points. Additionally, the race in Zandvoort is the precedent for Perez’s unabated race craft.

Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 10, 2021 Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen during qualifying REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

The race in Baku saw Checo seize the opportunity for a win after Verstappen’s tires shot out. Further, with the new regulations in the 2022, the driver’s decade-long experience with the sport will come in handy.

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Christian Horner was more than convinced about the driver. “His integration into the wider Team has been seamless and we have been impressed by his performances during the first half of the season which demonstrates what he’s capable of in our car.”

Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 10, 2021 Red Bull’s Sergio Perez during qualifying REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

Focused on the remainder of the season, Perez has been doing a good job so far. ‘We have so much more to achieve together and we still have a great challenge on our hands this season so I really hope we can finish the year on a high and carry that momentum into 2022.”

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While today sets another example of Perez’s importance to the team, the sprint ahead will set the grid for Sunday’s race; Perez would want to finish the session on a top 5 number. With the championship battle being extremely tight, Verstappen and Perez would have to push hard on Saturday’s session to gain an advantage against Mercedes on Sunday.

Watch this story: F1 Drivers Fighting on Track

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Shreya Sanjeev

339 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

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