Johnny Herbert has praised Sergio Perez for his uptick in form at the start of 2022, with the Mexican driver slowly but surely becoming a factor for the race victory in more races.
While Perez rarely proved a contender for victory during the 2021 season, his first with Red Bull, the Mexican led convincingly from pole position at this year's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, and fought for victory in Spain before landing the win in Monaco after being the clearly quicker Red Bull driver all weekend.
Now with a new two-year deal with the Milton Keynes-based team in his back pocket, Perez is just 15 points away from the top of the Drivers' Championship and Herbert said the relationship between him and Red Bull is clearly working.
"I think he's getting closer and I say it's getting closer because I think he's settling into the team brilliantly," Herbert told Sky News, when asked for his thoughts on Perez's recent form.
"He did a wonderful job, as we saw, in Monaco. He seems to be maturing brilliantly - for Sergio himself - but, more importantly, for the team as well with the Constructors' Championship being such an important part of Formula 1."
Herbert full of praise for Perez's attitude
Perez is known to be one of the most amicable and friendly drivers on the grid, and it's this open and honest attitude that Herbert has said proves him a good role model for young racers.
"I think the way that he's gone about his racing has been... I think it's something that a lot of youngsters should look at when they try to get themselves from karting to Formula 1," he said.
"He really conducts himself in a brilliant way, and he's getting stronger.
"We're going to Azerbaijan, where he won the race last year (Perez's first win with Red Bull). He's been on the podium three times when we've been racing there. I think only Sebastian Vettel has done the same thing.
"So, again, it looks as if he's going to a circuit that he is comfortable with and that is only going to enable him to show the speed that he's actually got."
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A thorn in Verstappen's side?
But, with Verstappen's role as undisputed team leader seemingly being threatened for the first time since Daniel Ricciardo left Red Bull in 2018, the former Grand Prix winner said the dynamic at Red Bull is going to be intriguing to watch from an external viewpoint.
"He's starting to become a little bit of a thorn in the
side, maybe, for Max Verstappen and that would be really interesting to
see how that dynamic works at the same time," he said.
"We've got some brilliant stuff coming our way because those two Red Bull drivers really get it together when we get to Azerbaijan and who knows who is going to come out of it on top?"
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