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Felipe Massa, former F1 driver for the likes of Ferrari and Williams, believes that Sergio Perez doesn’t have what it takes to win a World Championship.
This follows the Mexican driver’s first win of the 2023 season at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. He profited off a lowly starting position for his teammate Max Verstappen, who lined up in 15th position due to a driveshaft failure in Qualifying.
Despite speculations of rising tensions within the Red Bull team and between its two drivers, there has also been a fair amount of postulation that Perez could challenge the reigning double World Champion this year.
Perez has admitted himself that he feels comfortable driving and pushing the RB19 to its limits, something that hasn’t been the case in previous years with the Milton Keynes-based outfit. He said during pre-season testing: “We definitely improved the stability, I think that has been a positive, where I feel more comfortable with the car.”
Although both he and Verstappen have the exact same race results so far this season, it is the latter who leads the Drivers’ Standings. The Dutchman snatched an extra point for fastest lap on the final lap around the Jeddah Corniche Circuit. Perez, having been told to maintain a certain lap time to avoid damage to his car, was understandably disappointed to miss out on a chance at scoring the full 26 points on offer that race.
The two Red Bull drivers are currently dominating the 2023 Championship, with just a point separating them heading to Australia next week. Will Perez be able to challenge Verstappen for the Title this year?
Speaking to Bild, Massa was asked about who he thinks can challenge Verstappen for the Drivers’ Title this year. The 2008 runner-up believes that Verstappen is in a class of his own at the moment, stating: “Max doesn’t make mistakes, he drives like a robot. He is extremely mature for his age. The two titles made him even better. He’s more relaxed now.”
When it comes to Perez’ chances, it seems as though Massa doesn’t see him winning a Title as a possibility. He said:
“Their second driver, Sergio Pérez, is too inconsistent.”
Whether the 11-time F1 race winner is referring to the Mexican driver’s poor record against teammate Verstappen in previous years, or a personal observation from having worked alongside him between 2011 and 2017, remains to be seen.
Massa had more to say about various other drivers on the 2023 grid. He believes that George Russell of Mercedes “could be a Title contender for years to come”, and that Verstappen has the better chance of getting to eight Drivers’ Championships than Lewis Hamilton.
“Everything has to be right for a run like this. It currently does. Max doesn’t make any mistakes, Red Bull works perfectly, the engine is strong… The conditions are ideal for a Red Bull era.”
Feature Image Credit: Williams Martini Racing