Sergio Perez has praised Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen for the strength of his work ethic, saying the Dutchman doesn’t take a day off in his quest for progress.
Verstappen crashed out of the race lead in Azerbaijan with only a few laps remaining in Baku, but Perez was able to take the mantle from his team-mate and win last time out.
With the pair now settling into their partnership within the Red Bull garage, Perez has been impressed with how the Dutchman conducts himself and works for his success.
“Max is a tremendous talent,” Perez told Sky F1. “From the first lap in FP1 to the last lap on Sunday he is 110 per cent.
“You see with other drivers that they have days off. He doesn’t do that and is delivering at a very high level. I’m very lucky to have that reference in him.”
With Perez taking time to get up to speed in his new team, other drivers to change garages such as Daniel Ricciardo and the returning Fernando Alonso have found life more difficult than had perhaps been expected in the early part of the season, while Perez feels he can keep up his form from Baku.
But the Red Bull driver believes that the reduction in free practice time for 2021, down from 90 minutes to 60 in both FP1 and FP2, may be a big factor in how long it has taken for drivers to get used to running their new machinery.
“Definitely,” he said when the topic of reduced practice running was put to him. “There is just so little time now and you can hardly do a set-up change in session, so it’s made it harder for those drivers who have changed teams, but overall it is still the same for everyone.”
Perez added that he felt his performances were not quite up to scratch in the first five races of the year, with his pace on Sundays out-weighing his qualifying runs so far.
“I wouldn’t put a number to it but certainly I’m not pleased with the results overall,” said the 31-year-old when asked about rating his time at Red Bull out of 10 prior to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
“I’m pleased with the speed I’ve shown at times but there is still a lot of potential. The only time I’ve driven this car in long runs is basically at the races.
“On the weekends, before a race we probably do up to 10 laps on the high fuel runs so there is not a lot of scope to read into it. But things will only get better from now on.”