Max Verstappen’s old F1 foe thinks he could do a better job than Sergio Perez

Sam Cooper
Sergio Perez not happy in the Red Bull garage. Monaco May 2023

Sergio Perez not happy in the Red Bull garage. Monaco May 2023

Esteban Ocon believes that if he were partnering Max Verstappen, he would be doing a better job than Sergio Perez currently is.

Having won two of the opening four races, Perez has seen his title bid emphatically squashed by his own team-mate with the Mexican going through a poor run of form.

He finished sixth in Montreal, the same number of wins Verstappen has this year, and again focus is on his future at Red Bull.

With a Daniel Ricciardo shaped shadow lurking in the background, Perez must find some form and quickly if he is going to survive in the hottest of hot seats.

But a former team-mate of Perez and rival of Verstappen believes if he was put in the same car as the Dutchman, he would be competing for the title.

“Sure, I see myself fighting with Verstappen fighting for a World Cup if we had the same car,” he said, as reported by DAZN. “Now Max is doing an incredible job, he is dominating with Red Bull.

“But I don’t care who the driver is, I want to fight for the championship. I’ve always believed in myself.

“We have a long road ahead of us, but my goal is to be world champion, nothing more,” confessed Ocon.

Ocon had a memorable run in with Verstappen back in 2018 when the Frenchman hit the Red Bull man despite being shown a blue flag.

An angry Verstappen marched towards Ocon off the race and shoved him twice for having cost him the race.

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Ocon insists he is not a “tough guy” on track but is a hard driver.

“The truth is I don’t want people to think I’m a tough guy because I’m a nice guy out there but my way of riding is hard. It’s probably true, but I’m happy with it.

“I don’t know what the future holds for me. At the moment I feel very good at Alpine. I feel we are making progress and I am fully confident.

“But in F1 you never know the future. I know the sacrifices I’ve made and everything I’ve had to go through to get to where I am. But this is just the beginning.”

Ocon is contracted to Alpine until the end of 2024 as is Perez but considering his previous run in with Verstappen, Ocon is unlikely to be near the top of Red Bull’s shortlist.