Difference Between Verstappen's And Perez's Cars Spotted By Former F1 Driver

Tuesday, 09 July 2024 at 20:00
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Former F1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya revealed there was a big difference between Max Verstappen's and Sergio Perez's cars during a recent race he watched.
On the whole F1 grid, there isn't a driver duo that would be further apart than the Red Bull Racing drivers Max Verstappen, who currently stands first in the Championship, and Sergio Perez, who is currently fifth and might fall to seventh soon if he doesn't improve.
The current qualifying head-to-head between the Dutchman and the Mexican driver is 12-0, and their current Grand Prix head-to-head is 11-1. Notably, the one that Verstappen lost was the result of a technical problem and consequent retirement in the Australian Grand Prix.
Red Bull still clearly has one of the fastest cars, but only one of their drivers is able to race it at the required level. What is confusing is that Checo was much closer to Verstappen in the first five races of the season.
In four of the first five races, the 34-year-old stood on the podium. However, something happened after that, and Perez wasn't able to score a podium in any of the rounds that followed.
What happened to the Mexican driver? Is he doing something different? Former F1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya pointed out a thing which suggests he might be. Talking on W Radio Colombia, Montoya said:

"One thing about the Austrian Grand Prix when I was watching, is the difference in the balance of Checo's [Perez] car and Max's [Verstappen] car, that surprised me."

"If you see Checo's car and you see Max's car in the corners, Max's car completes the corners, and in Checo's car, it is impossible to go faster."

What the 48-year-old former F1 driver noticed was that Perez's car did not turn as well around the Red Bull Ring as the triple World Champion's did. He explained:

"Checo’s car was a little bit like Fernando’s [Alonso] car, he made the corners and at the same time at the end of the corners, the car didn’t turn."

"He had to slow down because he was running out of track, and Max's car completed the corner, so it's an interesting topic because it could be an issue that the setup was compromised in some way."

Red Bull's motorsport advisor Helmut Marko claimed that one of the problems in 2023 was that Perez tried to beat the Dutchman by pursuing his own setups, which ended up not working.
Apparently, switching back to Verstappen's setups was one of the big reasons behind the Mexicans' progress at the end of 2023 and the start of 2024.
Could it be that Perez started pursuing his own setups again? While we have no idea what is going on inside the Red Bull Racing team, it is clear that they want and need Checo to perform better
Consequently, it is improbable they would make his life even tougher by making him test some different things. Montoya added:

"Or one doesn't know internally what is there because Red Bull has not really criticized Checo at all."

"Yes, he lacked speed in the race and everything, but if you look at the balance of the car in qualifying and the balance of Max's car, they are two very different cars."