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Red Bull Racing star Max Verstappen has revealed that he is confident of establishing dominance over team-mate Sergio Perez next season. The Mexican was announced as the team’s newest recruit last month, with Verstappen’s former partner Alex Albon having been dropped after failing to trouble the Dutchman last year.
Perez brings a wealth of experience and proven race-winning ability to the Red Bull ranks, with some fans claiming that he could provide Verstappen with his toughest test to date from a team-mate.
However, the 23-year-old is confident that he can overcome the challenge posed, claiming that he is ready to bring the fight to Perez as the pair aim to dethrone Mercedes and seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton next season.
“In the end I beat everyone, and that’s good,” Verstappen told Ziggo Sport. “As my father always says, you have to destroy your teammate.”
Despite his claim, the Dutchman is aware that Perez will be looking to upset the odds and launch his own bid to become the quickest driver at Red Bull.
“Of course you have to be faster than your teammate,” said Verstappen. “I know that Sergio is aiming for the same.
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“I think that’s good, because it’s the only way to bring the team forward with both cars, as was the case at Red Bull with Daniel (Ricciardo).”
Perez outlined his intentions to fight at the front of the grid with Verstappen upon the confirmation of his signing last month.
“I am incredibly grateful to Red Bull for giving me the opportunity to race for Red Bull Racing in 2021,” he said in a statement published on the company’s website.
“The chance to race for a championship contending team is something I have been hoping for since I joined Formula One and it will be a proud moment to step onto the grid in Red Bull colours alongside Max.
“You can be sure that I will give next season my full focus. The team has the same winning mentality as me and I know I am here to perform and help the team fight for another title.”
Perez has been unable to step into the simulator as of yet due to coronavirus restrictions, with the 30-year-old currently in his native Mexico.
Verstappen will be hoping that gives him an advantage as he looks to compete with Hamilton and stop the Stevenage-born driver from breaking Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world titles.
Red Bull chief Helmut Marko has suggested that fans should reserve their judgement until Perez hits the track, claiming that it is impossible to predict how the team’s new driver lineup will fare until the pair are unleashed.
“We’ll only know how good our driver pairing is compared to Hamilton-Bottas once he [Perez] gets in our car,” Marko told Auto Motor und Sport.
“But Perez’s form curve in the second half of last year was a steep upward trend. He always puts himself in a good position and has a good feel for the car and the race.”
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