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Marko proud of Perez: He was driving at Verstappen's level

The Australian Grand Prix proved to be a better day for Sergio Perez than Max Verstappen, and the Mexican has come in for high praise from Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko.

Helmut Marko has heaped praise on Sergio Perez following his drive to P2 in the Australian Grand Prix, having compared his performance to being on the level of Max Verstappen. The Mexican had been running behind his teammate during much of the race, but became Red Bull's sole runner when Verstappen retired with a mechanical issue with just under 20 laps remaining. Whilst Perez was not able to catch up with Charles Leclerc in the lead, he held on to second place and as such ensured that the Milton Keynes-based squad still left Albert Park with some decent points. Team advisor Marko was left feeling proud of the job that Perez did, even though the driver was overtaken at the start by Lewis Hamilton. "Checo drove a great race and was on a par with Max," Marko told Motorsport-Total.com . "He did lose a position at the start, but that was a sensational start by Hamilton."

Perez opted against setting fastest lap

Marko says that the possibility of Perez trying to set the fastest lap was considered, given that this accolade hands an extra point to the driver that achieves it. However, this idea was abandoned given the pace of Leclerc in front. "That was a lost cause as Leclerc was over a second faster," Marko explained. Leclerc finished the Grand Prix some 20 seconds ahead of Perez on track.

Perez: We couldn't match Ferrari

Perez admitted after the race that Ferrari were simply too strong for Red Bull in Melbourne. "Ferrari [were] super strong today," he told media, including RacingNews365.com . "We couldn't match them at any point. I think this is the first weekend that they are a step ahead. I think we've been really close in qualifying, in [the] race. "Even [on Saturday], I felt like we were a bit closer than we [had] shown. But today they were on another level."

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