Lawrence Stroll may have dropped Sergio Perez from the Racing Point line up but he still feels the Mexican proves every race that he “deserves” to be in F1.
He just hopes Red Bull put him in their car.
Perez is facing the end of his Formula 1 career, or at the very least a year-long sabbatical, with the 2021 grid complete except for one seat, the second Red Bull seat.
Alex Albon has been Red Bull’s second driver in this year’s championship but with just two podium finishes, the second of which he gained at Perez’s expense at the Bahrain Grand Prix when Perez’s engine blew, he hasn’t done much to prove he deserves a top drive.
Red Bull have given the Thai-British racer until the end of this season to show what he can do, however, week in and week out it is Perez who is winning the auditions.
In the last three races he has finished second, DNF, and first with the latter his maiden Formula 1 race win at the Sakhir Grand Prix. Albon has been seventh, third and sixth.
Stroll hopes Red Bull put Perez in the car.
“Checo has been a fantastic asset and he’s been an asset for this team a long time before I’ve arrived,” Stroll told Sky Sports.
“He most definitely proves every weekend that he deserves to be in a car next year and I hope he’s in that Red Bull (car) next year.”
— Formula 1 (@F1) December 7, 2020
Racing Point team boss Otmar Szafnauer also feels the 30-year-old should be on next year’s grid.
“He absolutely deserves to be in Formula 1,” he told Reuters. “He did a great job today, he’s done a great job all season.
“He definitely deserves a place on the grid.”
Perez, meanwhile, says Sunday’s victory has made him more determined than ever to either stay on the grid or return in 2022.
The Sakhir victory was his first win in 190 starts and brought his podium tally up to 10. It also saw him take fourth place in the Drivers’ Championship with 125 points, 13 ahead of Daniel Ricciardo.
Checo will never forget this day – and you shouldn't, either!
— Formula 1 (@F1) December 6, 2020
Asked about his future in Sunday’s post-race press conference, he said: “I’ve always said about ’22 there was a race, taking a year out at this stage of my career that I am.
“I never know what’s going to happen, if I will have the will to come back for doing that, bad year I decide to stop but after today, after the last couple of races, I’m sort of determined to be here, either if it’s next year or the year after.
“I already have some good options for ’22 so my best option is obviously to keep going on next year but if I have to stop, then it’s not a disaster, I can come back in ’22.
“The regulations are going to change so much that in a way, I don’t think it will hurt that much the driving side, to get up to speed.
“I’m at peace with myself, you know. I think Esteban mentioned that drivers like him missing out on seats, so it’s just the way Formula 1 is, it can be really tough and not the best drivers are in Formula 1 unfortunately.
“So we keep pushing and we keep delivering and I think that’s the best way to do it.”