Sergio Perez believes his compatriot Pato O’Ward is talented enough to compete with the best drivers in the world.
O’Ward, driving in IndyCar for McLaren, has made an excellent start to the 2021 campaign and currently leads the standings after claiming victory last time out in Detroit.
It was his second win of the season, and his first one earned him the chance to test McLaren’s F1 car in Abu Dhabi at the end of the campaign due to a bet with Zak Brown.
His excellent performances and his connection to the British team have led to rumours of him joining the F1 grid for good one day, and Perez thinks that, in terms of talent, his fellow Mexican is good enough.
“I think it was great. In two weekends, we got a win in Formula 1 and then a win in IndyCar, so that’s great for our country,” the Red Bull driver told reporters in France.
“To be honest, I think Pato is a great talent. It’s just a matter of how different IndyCar is to Formula 1, and how quickly he can adapt to Formula 1.
“Certainly I think he has the talent to race against the very best drivers in the world.”
Like O’Ward, Perez claimed his second ever win in the series he’s racing in last time out, triumphing at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
He spent the vast majority of that race holding off Lewis Hamilton, with the Mercedes man constantly within DRS range of the Mexican.
It was the first time that the two had gone head to head with evenly matched machinery, and Checo says it made him understand the seven-time World Champion more.
“It is not the same to have Hamilton behind with a Mercedes as any other driver,” he said.
“It is at that moment that you understand how good he is, how he manages his career, the moments he pushes, the moments he saves.
“I think it was my closest race with him in my entire career. I’ve understood a lot about how he behaves. He basically didn’t let me breathe from start to finish.”