Sergio Perez hit with brutal ‘sometimes number three driver’ verdict in stark Red Bull warning

Henry Valantine
Red Bull driver Sergio Perez in Saudi Arabia.

Sergio Perez is now in his fourth season as a Red Bull driver.

Former Ferrari driver René Arnoux gave a blunt assessment of Sergio Perez and his placing in races, saying Red Bull “only has one car in front” more often than not.

Perez finished fifth at the Australian Grand Prix last time out while Max Verstappen retired from second place, with both Ferrari drivers leading home a 1-2 finish.

René Arnoux: ‘Sergio Perez is a number 2, sometimes 3. He often disappears’

Red Bull explained that Perez had experienced a loss of downforce due to a floor issue which came about while passing Fernando Alonso during the race, which hampered Perez while he was the fastest car on track and making his way through the field.

Carlos Sainz headed the first Ferrari 1-2 for two seasons, but with Verstappen out of the race, Arnoux explained that without Perez there, the Scuderia were able to “make the most” of the opportunity in front of them.

In a piece of criticism aimed at the Red Bull driver, the seven-time Grand Prix winner said Perez “often disappears” while Verstappen leads.

“[Ferrari] had a great race,” Arnoux said of the Scuderia’s Australia outing to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Sainz was really perfect in how and how decisive he was. And in general the car was competitive both in qualifying and in the race.

“Of course, we missed Verstappen because of a technical problem, but Ferrari was good to be there, they made the most of the weekend.

“After all, we knew from the first GP that the car is much better than the one from 2023. It’s much closer to Red Bull, we had full confirmation of that in Australia. Not quite at Red Bull’s level yet, but almost.

“But then it’s also true that Red Bull only has one car in front. Because Perez is a number 2, sometimes 3. He often disappears.”

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When asked about Ferrari’s goals for the season, Arnoux hopes to see the off-track controversy at Red Bull become secondary to the on-track action, after the internal investigation by Red Bull GmbH into Christian Horner was dismissed.

In making another dig at Perez, Arnoux explained that Ferrari can challenge for the Constructors’ Championship if the Mexican driver does not cause “major trouble” at the front.

When asked about the Scuderia’s 2024 targets, Arnoux replied: “Then I’m with Ferrari and for Ferrari, but first of all I hope that this story of sex and intrigue at Red Bull is over: I want to see a real duel, I’m not interested in seeing Ferrari win because of that sort of thing.

“On the contrary, I really like the fact that for a while now at every race it has almost always managed to take a few tenths off the pace.

“I hope it can play for the Constructors’, that’s for sure, also because it’s not like Perez is exactly at a very high level.

“In fact, I’d say that if he doesn’t cause any major trouble, Ferrari almost has a better chance than Red Bull.”

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