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After this weekend’s extraordinary Baku race and the infectious joy of the Perez trio, Vettel Gasly on the podium, Monday morning seems sweeter.

But one question puzzled me for part of the night: Can Perez mix it up with Hamilton and Verstappen for the title?
This is the first time since Ricciardo’s departure in 2018 that a second Red Bull driver has been on Verstappen’s pace. Neither Gasly nor Albon had achieved this and it shows how much Perez has matured in his driving and in his understanding of the specifics of a new car.

We can see this when we look at all the drivers who have changed teams this year: they have all gone through a period of adaptation and are gradually coming out of the woodwork like Vettel and Sainz. Perez continues to progress, and was able to collect points at the beginning of the year despite a lack of pace.

However, Baku has always been Perez’s favourite circuit. The podium is a reassuring sign of his level of achievement, but without a twist of fate it would have been unlikely that he would have overtaken Verstappen. One might even wonder if Red Bull would have allowed him to pass?

Because yes, Perez is clearly the second driver at Red Bull in the same way as his predecessors, and it rarely happens that the servant passes the king.

For their part, Verstappen and Hamilton will no doubt remain focused on each other, and like the 2010 final between Alonso and Webber, could forget about the third man who won that year (Vettel). It’s up to Perez to be smart and stay in position to take every opportunity. The Mexican will still need to improve in qualifying to help him progress in the race and not get stuck in the pack too often.

A championship is built race after race and at times you have to be satisfied with second place instead of risking everything for victory, as Hamilton learned the hard way yesterday…
If we remain objective and use everything we know about Helmut Marko’s management, Perez still doesn’t have a chance and will be used as an argument to win the F1 constructors’ title. But I like to dream and I dream of seeing a three-way battle for the title… Perez makes us dream

Written by Nico AUPEE founder of @F1FormuleFrance on Instagram

Page automatically translated from French with DeepL®

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