Helmut Marko unimpressed with Sergio Perez as Red Bull star damages 2024 hopes

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Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko issued a damning review of Sergio Perez’s performance at the Dutch Grand Prix amid questions over the Mexican driver’s long-term future. Perez was forced to settle for a fourth-placed finish at the end of a chaotic race, with a late penalty ruining his chances of getting on the podium.

The 33-year-old crashed twice during a torrential downpour at the end of the race, skidding into the barriers at Turn One before clipping the wall on his way into the pit lane. His car was repaired during the subsequent red flag period but he was later given a penalty for speeding in the pits, allowing Pierre Gasly to move up into third place.

Marko has since insisted that Perez was ‘lucky’ to finish the race, with the 40-minute delay caused by the rain allowing Red Bull to repair the front and rear ends of his damaged car.

“He was still lucky with the pit stop because he crashed quite hard when entering the pit lane,” Marko told Viaplay. “On top of that, there was another penalty because he was late with the brakes. He was still lucky. Without the red flag he would not have reached the finish line.”

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Perez remains tied down to Red Bull until the end of next year but it has recently been suggested that he could be ditched by the team when the current campaign draws to a close. He remains second in the Drivers’ Championship standings but is 138 points adrift of team-mate Max Verstappen, who has simply been in a league of his own so far this season.

However, Marko was quick to insist that Perez’s seat is safe for now after conceding that no driver on the grid would be able to match Verstappen on current form. He also urged Perez to avoid putting so much pressure on himself in order to get back to his best.

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“We still have the confidence in him, as he has to finish in second place this season,” he added. “However, he builds up the pressure entirely for himself. But yes, to be honest, everyone besides Max has a difficult life.”

Marko went on to shut down any chance of Alex Albon returning to Red Bull in place of Perez next season, with the Williams driver qualifying ahead of him at Zandvoort before securing an eighth-placed finish in the race.

“He was always ready to drive alongside Max,” said Marko when quizzed on Albon. “Alex has improved a lot, but I can’t name a single driver who is at Max’s level right now.”

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