Perez: No-one would beat Verstappen 'straightaway' in the same car

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Sergio Perez believes no driver could beat his Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen "straightaway" in the same car.

The Dutchman flew to his second straight Formula 1 championship in convincing fashion in 2022, winning a record 15 races in the most dominant season since Sebastian Vettel in 2013.

And Perez, who just missed out on second place by three points behind Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, thinks Verstappen was the clear difference-maker in the battle at the front.

“Well, I think Max has had an incredible season: a lot of respect for him,” the Mexican stated.

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“I’ve said it before: I don’t feel like Red Bull has had a dominant car, so to have won the championship the way Max won it, I think he definitely pulled a gear or two compared to anyone else.”

Checo did start the season on a more level playing field with Verstappen, claiming pole in Saudi Arabia before winning in Monaco.

However, as the year progressed, Perez really struggled to keep Max in his sights and offered an insight into what it's like alongside the Dutch lion.

"It’s a great challenge to be his teammate,” he admitted.


“Max is operating at a very high level from FP1 through the whole weekend so it’s obviously not an easy task.

"I don’t believe there’s anyone that can come and just beat him straightaway. He’s very solid with the team.

“He’s been here a while so I think I’m just getting closer and closer with the year, so I will give another shot for next year and see what happens.”

Asked where he thinks his main deficit is to Verstappen, Perez said: “Well, I think I do need to step up a bit my race pace, mainly, where last year was more the qualifying, I think.

“With these cars, you are able to race a lot closer, so I think we need to step up that race pace. The understanding with the team, with the car, I think that has come better in the last few races.

“So, I believe we are heading on the right track.”