Despite dropping 25 points to Lewis Hamilton in three races, Mark Webber has tipped Sergio Perez to “still nip” P2 in the Drivers’ Championship.
Although Perez is racing undoubtedly the fastest car on the grid, as Max Verstappen is showing with his 14 race wins and the 2023 World title in the bag, the Mexican driver is battling to hold on to second place in the standings.
With five races remaining, Perez is on 224 points with Hamilton 30 behind him.
‘That’ll be pretty brutal if he tracks him down’
The Mercedes driver has made huge inroads into Perez’s advantage, slashing that from 55 points after the Italian Grand Prix to just 30 three races later.
At this rate, it’s not inconceivable to think Hamilton could pip Perez to the runner-up spot, especially as the Red Bull driver’s form has once again hit a slump that’s seen him score a mere five points in three races.
That, coupled with the potential for changeable weather conditions as Formula 1 heads to America, could open the door for Hamilton says Webber.
“Well when we talk about weather that’s gonna be an interesting one with Brazil and Mexico, and once we get out of these UAE countries, as that’s where Sergio is still struggling, these mixed weather conditions,” the eight-time Grand Prix winner told Channel 4.
“He’s lost a lot of points throughout the year, of course. That’s where Lewis is just going to be relentless. That’ll be pretty brutal if he tracks him down.”
“But,” he added, “I think Sergio will still nip it.”
Is Sergio Perez’s Red Bull future dependent on P2?
Helmut Marko has made it clear that if Perez loses second place in the Drivers’ standings, the Mexican driver may not have a race seat next season.
“The gap is simply too big at the moment because second place in the World Championship is also at risk now,” he told ORF.
“In general we want to implement the contractual situation, which lasts until 2024. And that’s entirely up to him now.”
The 80-year-old wouldn’t need to look far to find a replacement with Marko reminding Perez that AlphaTauri have no fewer than three drivers wanting to replace him at the senior team.
“Then we have three relatively good drivers in AlphaTauri, and [Liam] Lawson is a reserve driver for four cars. So a lot can happen [in the future],” Marko said.