Red Bull expect to replicate Ricciardo-Verstappen dynamic with Perez

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Red Bull is expecting Sergio Perez to replicate the kind of dynamic that Daniel Ricciardo had with Max Verstappen this season.

Despite their friendly relationship, the Australian and the Dutchman were known for pushing each other very hard during their three seasons together, even coming to blows, most notably at the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

However, over the past two seasons, Ricciardo's successors, Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon, struggled to consistently push Max in the same way.

As a result, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner admits the opportunity to sign Perez was simply too good to ignore.

“It was a tremendously difficult decision and one we were fortunate to have time to be able to fully consider – the whole season in fact,” he told

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“It’s highly unusual for a driver of Sergio’s quality and ability to be on the market. So we just felt we would be better placed putting in a more experienced driver alongside Max as we head into 2021.

“I think it was a grown-up view that we took to go outside of the [driver stable] and give Sergio a chance. Obviously, he drove so well last year – particularly in the last third of the season.

“He’s got 10 years’ worth of Formula 1 experience, and he’s demonstrated his ability to maximise the Pirelli tyre.

“Of course, he just brings a whole host of experience, the podiums he’s achieved and results he’s achieved in cars that have, until last year, been far from competitive.

“I’ve also known Sergio a long time – he drove for my team in GP2 years ago [Arden International, in 2009] and I’ve always followed his career with interest," Horner noted.

“And it was just a matter of circumstances that presented itself as an opportunity and made sense for Sergio to take the seat alongside Max this year.”

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The main problem for Perez at his new team though is that he is unlikely to get more than two days in the RB16B before Bahrain, with half a filming day and one-and-a-half days during winter testing.

"It'll be very difficult to get himself up to speed in just one test, straightaway," he admitted.

"But he has the benefit of a lot of experience and, of course, we are expecting him to be close to Max and challenging - in a way that we had with Daniel Ricciardo and Max for three seasons.

"So, hopefully, Sergio can play a real, really important role for the team in getting both cars, on a consistent basis, near to the Mercedes."