F1 pundit ‘feels so sorry’ for Sergio Perez over flawed World Championship hopes

Jamie Woodhouse
Sergio Perez, Red Bull

Sergio Perez's current Red Bull contract is set to expire at the end of 2024.

Formula 1 pundit Mark Gallagher wishes Sergio Perez did not “feel the need to rise” to talk about a World Championship push, as “it’s never going to be his year” as long as Max Verstappen is his Red Bull team-mate.

Staring at the prospect of dropping off the Formula 1 grid, Red Bull threw Perez a vital lifeline by placing him in their line-up as of the 2021 campaign, with the Mexican racer now readying for a fourth season in Red Bull colours.

In that time, like Alex Albon and Pierre Gasly before him, Perez has been unable to mount a title challenge against his team-mate and Formula 1’s dominant force Verstappen, though he has already said his “main target” for F1 2024 is to reset and deliver a fresh push for title glory.

‘Max Verstappen has the beating of Sergio Perez’

However, Gallagher is certain that Perez does not have what it takes to deny Verstappen, who is on the hunt for a fourth title in as many seasons, and wishes that Perez would accept this.

Speaking on the Flat Chat podcast, Gallagher said: “I feel so sorry for Sergio Perez for one reason, and that is that he and people around him, and from time to time, the way that perhaps Christian [Horner] needs to talk about him, they insinuate that he may have an opportunity to win the World Championship. He doesn’t.

“He doesn’t have the opportunity to win the World Championship, unless Max was injured, God forbid, and missed most of the season.

“Max has the beating of Sergio. The truth is in the data. You talk to anybody at Red Bull, they will tell you, ‘We know who’s the quicker driver by some margin’, it’s there for all of us to see. It’s kind of unarguable.

“And therefore the pity of it is when Sergio is sitting in a press conference and someone is saying: ‘So Checo, tell us about your championship chances this year’, and of course, he’s going to talk it up, because it’s very difficult to think about what the alternative narrative could be.

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“I remember talking to Gerhard Berger about being team-mate to Ayrton [Senna] and Gerhard saying: ‘You get to a point where you realise you’re just not going to be there, and you have a different role. Your role is to do the best job you can for the team, to win the race when it comes your way and otherwise, hopefully finish second and have a one-two finish’.

“He gave that advice as well to Eddie Irvine when he teamed up with Michael [Schumacher] at Ferrari, and Gerhard said to Eddie, ‘Just make sure they pay you in cash and keep the cash in your wardrobe at home, because you’re going to come home from work every day really annoyed, really p*ssed off that you just aren’t able to match your quicker team-mate’.

“He said, ‘Just open the wardrobe and have a look at the money, because ultimately, there are much worse things that you could be doing than being the number two’.

“So it’s a pity that Sergio is in that position because I think he genuinely struggles with the fact that he got what he’s always wanted, he got to the top of the pile, he got into the World Championship-winning car, he got into the dominant machine, he got into the best team. He’s earning good money. I mean, everything is there for him.

“And it’s that big moment when you suddenly discover there’s someone alongside you who’s just on a different level. And that’s tough. And I think he’s done admirably well, I just wish that he didn’t feel the need to rise to the questions about is this going to be your year? It’s never going to be his year as long as he’s up against Max.”

F1 2024 represents a pivotal year for Perez, who is now into the final year of his Red Bull contract, with the likes of eight-time Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo lurking and looking to pounce on any opening to return to the main Red Bull team.

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