Hamilton certain Red Bull's fate is sealed after what F1 rival Verstappen did
Red Bull have been told that McLaren driver Oscar Piastri could be the ‘next Max Verstappen’ and he should be considered as Sergio Perez’s replacement. The Mexican driver has seen his seat come under pressure following a string of disappointing performances, despite being sat second in the Drivers’ Championship, behind his team-mate.
Piastri has impressed alongside Lando Norris at McLaren in the second half of the season which has prompted calls for Red Bull to pay attention. The Aussie is racing in his first Formula 1 season but has shown signs of promise, which has seen ex-McLaren driver Mark Blundell compare him to Verstappen and call for Christian Horner’s side to consider the youngster.
”There are two ways of looking at it – you can bring in an older, experienced driver who knows what to do and has the depth of knowledge both in and outside of the car,” Blundell told OLBG about Red Bull’s second seat.
“That’ll help pull the team together and drive them forward. It is, however, important to ask whether or not those drivers still have that elusive millisecond in them and if they’re prepared to put everything on the line going into Term One.
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“If you look at it that way, you could be tempted to bring in a younger driver who has the potential to be the next Max Verstappen – someone like Oscar Piastri. I think he has huge potential, and maybe he can be someone who can challenge Max. There is, however, only one Verstappen, and I can’t see anyone coming along who can shake the tree and knock him off the perch.”
In September, McLaren did extend Piastri’s contract until the end of the 2026 season, while Red Bull have publicly played down the idea that they are planning to axe Perez. Blundell admits that he feels sorry for Perez, who has been criticised for not matching Verstappen in the Red Bull car.
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”I feel for Sergio because I think he’s an outstanding talent,” Blundell added. “He’s a Grand Prix winner and he knows what to do. He is, sadly, up against a one per cent guy who’s one of the all-time greats of this generation.
“He’ll have to be superhuman to surpass Max! He’s done it occasionally, but doing it consistently will make the real difference in being a World Champion or not.
“I don’t think Sergio has that capability, but him not being around would be a great loss to F1. He’s a huge name in Mexico and he’s a superstar there. Let’s wait and see. I think it’s tough for him. I don’t think many drivers in the pit lane would envy his position!”
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