Best line-up on the F1 grid? Helmut Marko says it’s not the Red Bull pairing

Michelle Foster
Sergio Perez explaining to Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen has six wins for 2024, Sergio Perez has none

Despite announcing Sergio Perez will continue as Max Verstappen’s team-mate, Helmut Marko says Red Bull do not have the best driver pairing on the grid.

That, he says, is the McLaren line-up of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri.

Helmut Marko weighs in on ‘best duo’ on the grid

Earlier this month Red Bull put an end to speculation that Perez’s seat was once again under threat, the team signing the Mexican driver to a two-year extension.

That announcement was made after the Monaco Grand Prix, a race where Perez failed to make it out of Q1 in qualifying before being involved in a Lap 1 crash with Kevin Magnussen.

His Canadian Grand Prix was a rise-repeat moment as Perez couldn’t get out of Q1 and again he crashed, although this time all on his own.

In both races, McLaren put one car on the podium with the other scoring points; Piastri was second in Monaco with Norris the runner-up in Montreal.

It’s no wonder Marko, who has previously talked about both drivers, believes McLaren has the best driver pairing on the grid.

“Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri at McLaren,” he told the Journal de Montreal when asked for the ‘best duo’. “They are young and they are hungry. Currently, they get along well and work well together.”

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But while Red Bull’s line-up is set in stone, clauses excluded of course, Marko and Christian Horner have yet to decide who will take the second RB seat.

The team has already confirmed Yuki Tsunoda as one of the two 2025 drivers with the other seat going to either Daniel Ricciardo or Liam Lawson.

Although Ricciardo is the driver in the car at the moment, having secured the race seat ahead of reserve driver Lawson, the Honey Badger has failed to shine.

Trailing Tsunoda in the qualifying and race head-to-head, 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve let loose on Ricciardo in his commentary during the Canadian GP.

Asked about the former F1 driver’s comments, Marko replied: “I didn’t hear his comment. But Daniel had to beat Yuki at Racing Bulls. This year, that is not the case. It is rather the opposite that occurs.

“Yuki has changed a lot since his arrival in F1. He has really improved in his development. He is an emotional driver and he manages to limit his mistakes. He was in demand by other teams. He is young and he fits our mould. That’s why we’ve just extended his contract for another year.”

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