The pressure is slowly building on Sergio Perez’s shoulders at Red Bull.
The highly experienced Mexican was drafted in to be Max Verstappen’s teammate for 2021, after first Pierre Gasly and then Alex Albon struggled to get close to the Dutchman’s pace.
But now four races into the season, it is clear that Perez is also not yet getting close enough in the races to play a supporting role for Verstappen.
“At the end of the day, I’m always alone in a fight,” Verstappen admitted last week.
“They (Mercedes) can easily make a pitstop because there’s a gap, so that doesn’t help,” he added.
Outspoken 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve agrees that Red Bull is still lacking a more competitive second driver.
“Verstappen is always used to attacking at the limit,” he is quoted by Speed Week. “What he needs now is good pace from his teammate so he can support Max in the fight against Mercedes.”
Even Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko thinks Perez’s absence from the top fight in Barcelona may even have cost Verstappen the race win.
When asked if the Dutchman could have won in Spain, Marko told motorsport-magazin.com: “Yes. The solution would have been to have Perez in the immediate vicinity of the first two.
“Then Hamilton would have had to get past Perez and that would certainly not have been easy for him,” he added.