Carlos Sainz ‘a tenth better’ than Sergio Perez at best alongside Max Verstappen

Jamie Woodhouse
Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez are reportedly fighting for the 2025 Red Bull seat

Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez are reportedly fighting for the 2025 Red Bull seat

If Red Bull chose to sign Carlos Sainz for 2025, he still, like Sergio Perez, would not be able to “make the big difference” in performance level alongside Max Verstappen.

That is the opinion of Dutch racing driver Michael Bleekemolen, who cast an eye over the impending Red Bull 2025 driver decision, as Perez battles to secure a new contract, while the likes of the impressive Sainz is on the lookout for a new home on the 2025 grid and has been strongly linked with Perez’s Red Bull seat.

Carlos Sainz would not ‘make the big difference’ versus Max Verstappen

Sainz learnt before the F1 2024 campaign began that he had no future at Ferrari, with the team opting to sign seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to become Charles Leclerc’s new team-mate.

However, Sainz has certainly risen to the challenge of proving himself to potential future employers, the Spaniard claiming an impressive victory at the Australian Grand Prix, while he completed the podium in his other F1 2024 outings in Bahrain and Suzuka.

Such form has led Red Bull to admit that Sainz has caught their eye, the 29-year-old having made his F1 breakthrough as part of the Red Bull programme and as team-mate to Verstappen, but if they pulled the trigger on a reunion, Bleekemolen does not believe Sainz would be a major upgrade on Perez, even if he would give Sainz the nod out of the two.

“I can see that for me,” Bleekemolen told RacingNews365.com in regards to Sainz joining Red Bull, “but [being Verstappen’s team-mate] is terribly difficult for everyone.

“It won’t be like Sainz passes him either. You are up against the World Champion who is so confident and has so much strength, both physically and mentally. It won’t be possible to get past him.

“It would be very interesting if he were in the same car. But believe me, he might be a tenth better than Perez, but he’s not going to make the big difference.

“But, I would still take our Spanish friend if it goes between those two.”

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Perez though is also making himself an attractive option for Red Bull, having followed Verstappen across the line in three 1-2 finishes so far this season.

However, Bleekemolen pointed out that Perez started last season strong and tailed off dramatically from there, with consistency the key trait which Red Bull will be looking for in a Verstappen team-mate.

“Now Sergio is equally good, but he was often eighth, seventh or sixth last year,” said Bleekemolen.

“Red Bull just needs to make sure it has a consistent second driver and as a team manager I would want that too.”

Despite the continued speculation of a Mercedes move, Verstappen has the longest contract of any F1 driver, his Red Bull deal running until the end of 2028.

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