Perez could beat Verstappen to 2023 title – Marko

Sergio Perez could “challenge” teammate Max Verstappen for the 2023 world championship.

That is the wild claim of Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko, even though reigning back-to-back title winner Verstappen got his new campaign off to a dominant start recently in Bahrain.

But Marko thinks Mexican Perez has a chance.

“He’s certainly in very, very good shape,” the 79-year-old told ntv. “Also physically – he hardly sweats. That means he takes it really seriously and might be a challenge for Max.”

There were clear signs of tension between Verstappen and Perez last year, but Marko actually thinks he has been one of the Dutchman’s best ever teammates.

“Sergio survived two years alongside Max without being broken like most others,” he said. “That’s a great achievement.”

However, the Austrian admits that 33-year-old Perez has to acknowledge that his “teammate has no weaknesses”.

Nevertheless, Perez “does not give up”, Marko added.

“Overall, our goal is that we want to win first and second place in the world championship. We don’t specify that first place is for Max.”

Perez secured a two-year contract extension with Red Bull last year that will keep him at the team until the end of 2024.

As for the potential of another contract extension beyond that, Marko said: “We’ll have to see how everything is going.

“Such conversations and considerations usually start before or after the summer break.”

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