Max Verstappen has little sympathy for Sergio Perez’s qualifying plight with the Dutchman declaring he’s okay winning the championship titles “on my own” for Red Bull.
Perez had yet another qualifying session to forget on Saturday as the Mexican driver headed the Q1 queue at the Silverstone circuit in changeable conditions and lost out as those behind him went faster with the track conditions ramping up.
It was the fifth time in a row that he’d failed to make it into the pole position shoot-out, and his third Q1 exit alone, adding yet more pressure to the under-fire driver’s shoulders.
Max Verstappen: I can win the titles on my own at the moment!
But he shouldn’t look to his team-mate Verstappen for a sympathetic shoulder to cry on with the reigning World Champion making his thoughts on his team-mate’s troubles crystal clear.
“Of course I don’t know where things went wrong,” he told the Dutch media of Perez’s Q1 exit, “but with our car you should of course be able to get into Q3.”
Asked if Perez’s struggles were beginning to annoy Red Bull, Verstappen replied: “You have to ask Helmut or Christian.
“But yes, of course we are also fighting for the team championship. But I think I can do that on my own at the moment!”
Given Verstappen has 255 points to his tally after his eighth win of this season at the British Grand Prix, he could as Mercedes in second place in the Constructors’ Championship have just 203 points.
While Verstappen won the British Grand Prix, his sixth win on the trot, Perez could only recover as high as P6.
It raises the question who would Verstappen want as his team-mate should Red Bull make the call to sack Perez.
One driver waiting in the wings is Daniel Ricciardo who it’s been suggested could take either Perez’s Red Bull seat or Nyck de Vries’ AlphaTauri drive.
He’ll have his first on-track test in the RB19 this week when he tests for Pirelli at Silverstone as up until now he’s only done simulation work for Red Bull.
“He does his job well in the simulator,” said Verstappen, “but you know, that’s not something that surprises me either.
“He has had difficult years at McLaren, of course, but you don’t lose your talent. And of course he also has a lot of experience.
“I think he is also just comfortable with us at the moment. He says that himself, that he has taken a step back to reset himself. In the end, he just feels at home with the team. He has of course been with this team for a long time.
“He is now in the simulator and listens very closely to us. He also asks a lot. And I know Daniel very well, so we can talk about a lot of things. I ask him if he wants to test something for me or what he thinks about something, or it’s about future parts, things like that.”
Pressed as to whether he’d swap out Perez for Ricciardo, the two-time World Champion insisted: “It’s not up to me!”