Sergio Perez has been criticised following his error-strewn Japanese Grand Prix with Jan Lammers saying his driving is “criminal” while Robert Doornboss feels he’s “making a fool of himself”.
Both Dutch pundits believe his days at Red Bull are numbered with Liam Lawson named as his potential replacement.
While Max Verstappen clinched pole position at the Suzuka circuit by six-tenths of a second over McLaren rookie Oscar Piastri, Perez was only fifth on the grid.
Sergio Perez criticised for ‘almost criminal’ antics
That meant he was in the thick of it on the opening lap and, into the first corner, he bounced into Lewis Hamilton not once but twice with the second contact breaking the Mexican driver’s front wing.
While the stewards ruled that to be a racing incident, they didn’t look as kindly when Perez overtook Fernando Alonso behind the Safety Car as he came into pit for repairs.
That earned him a five-second penalty, his first of two, with the second dished out for crashing into Kevin Magnussen at the Turn 11 hairpin later in the race. That also left Perez with a broken front wing.
He eventually retired the car due to the crash damage while his team-mate Verstappen raced to victory and in doing so secured the Constructors’ Championship title for Red Bull.
Dutch Grand Prix boss Lammers didn’t hold back, telling NOS: “When you see what Perez is doing with that beautiful car, it’s almost criminal.”
Sergio Perez out, Liam Lawson in at Red Bull?
With Japan marking the second race weekend in a row in which Perez had not one but two incidents, the driver having previously hit Yuki Tsunoda and Alex Albon in Singapore, Lammers reckons Red Bull’s decision not to announce Liam Lawson as a 2024 AlphaTauri driver is because that’s not where they want him.
Suggesting that “something else is going on”, he reckons Lawson could be Perez’s replacement next season.
He added: “I think Perez is really ready for retirement. I mean, how much fun is this for him?
“What we’re seeing is a total lack of drive, motivation, sharpness – everything, really. I think Red Bull could be preparing to put Lawson in that seat.”
Former F1 driver turned pundit Robert Doornbos also believes Perez could be out at the end of this season.
“I think Helmut Marko is completely done with Perez,” said the Ziggo Sport commentator.
“He (Perez) has had his good moments, but that was a long time ago. Now he’s just causing damage and making a fool of himself.”
Red Bull, though, have insisted time and again that Perez has a contract for the 2024 season and that he will be in the car alongside Verstappen.