Former F1 driver shares RB19 theory with Max Verstappen proving his greatness over Sergio Perez

Sam Cooper
Sergio Perez standing in front of Max Verstappen.

Sergio Perez started strongly but fell away as the 2023 season went on.

Pedro de la Rosa believes the performances of Sergio Perez have only helped to improve Max Verstappen’s standing in terms of the best to ever to do it.

The RB19 may have won all but one race in 2023 but while it may be a quick car, it may not be an easy one to drive with former iterations of the Red Bull car catching the likes of Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon out.

That is a characteristic that De la Rosa believes the 2023 car shares with its predecessor and as evidence for that claim, he has pointed towards the form of Perez.

Sergio Perez form proves Max Verstappen greatness says Pedro de la Rosa

Of the 21 wins secured by Red Bull this season, 19 of them were by Verstappen with Perez’s last victory coming at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in April.

Since then, the Mexican struggled for form, particularly in qualifying, and would go on to finish 290 points behind his team-mate.

That performance has made former Arrows, Jaguar, McLaren, Sauber and HRT driver De la Rosa believe the RB19 is a difficult car to drive.

“Obviously the Red Bull is not an easy car, that’s for sure,” he said on the F1 Nation podcast. “And I think that Checo’s performances prove that point.

“However, I don’t think that any car on the grid is easy to drive nowadays with their ground effects. Because all these cars with speed, move the aero balance forward massively. So you will never have a perfectly balanced car in low, medium and high speed corners.

“If you are aiming at high speed balance, you will have understeer regarding medium and slow speeds. So it’s never going to be perfect.”

PlanetF1.com recommends

F1 2023: Head-to-head qualifying and race stats between team-mates

F1 penalty points: Red Bull driver ends 2023 season top of FIA naughty list

It is Verstappen’s ability to conquer nearly all circuits that has made the Aston Martin brand ambassador believe he is one of the best drivers in the sport’s history.

“That’s where I think Max is especially strong in adapting to a very difficult car to drive on any type of track in any type of condition,” said De la Rosa. “The wet, dry or semi wet.

“I think that he’s just proved to be a very, very special driver. We’re talking about one of the best drivers in Formula 1 history. That’s how good Max Verstappen is.”

Read next: Toto Wolff exclusive: Huge Mercedes W15 design insight with ‘all sails set’ for 2024