Sergio Perez says being Max Verstappen’s teammate at Red Bull is perhaps the toughest job in all of Formula 1.
Although the Mexican has a contract for 2024, he is feeling the burn of the global media’s spotlight as numerous pundits forecast his eventual demise.
“Even though he can look at Max’s data, he is unable to improve and close the gap,” former F1 driver Christijan Albers told De Telegraaf newspaper.
“The gap is in fact only increasing. At some point they’ll see ‘It’s impossible to keep justifying this’. The story will have to end somewhere.
“If you see how destructive (Christian) Horner and (Helmut) Marko were towards (Nyck) de Vries, it actually amazes me that they continue to keep Perez,” Albers added.
According to Marca sports newspaper, Perez admitted at a Ford event in Mexico that he has felt the pressure lately.
“When something like this happens at Red Bull, you immediately have 300 media channels telling you that you have to leave,” he said.
“I have the feeling that being Mexican also has a lot to do with it. We saw with (George) Russell when he crashed from third place on the last lap (in Singapore), but nobody was saying that he had to leave.”
Russell’s teammate at Mercedes is the seven time world champion Lewis Hamilton, but Perez clearly thinks sharing a team with Verstappen is even tougher.
“He manages to get more out of the car and also does it every weekend. That’s certainly something I admire about him,” Perez told De Limburger newspaper.
“Max performs at the top of his abilities always and everywhere. I think that’s the most special thing about him.
“He is also a hard worker who understands very well why he is successful. If something goes wrong, he immediately knows why,” Perez added.
“It takes time to get used to that, and the past has proven that it is not an easy task to be Max Verstappen’s teammate. There are few drivers who can handle that pressure.
“I sometimes call it the toughest job in Formula 1,” he said.