Helmut Marko has warned that Sergio Perez should not be "underestimated", with the Red Bull Formula 1 advisor feeling that the driver has "changed a lot" since joining the team.
Perez enjoyed a successful weekend at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix; after claiming victory in Saturday's Sprint race, the Mexican followed this up with another race win in Sunday's main event.
Max Verstappen helped to secure the team a 1-2 result by finishing in second. The Dutchman had earlier held the lead of the Grand Prix, but lost out after making a pit stop just before the Safety Car was deployed in the early stages of the race.
While Marko admits that Verstappen was "unlucky", the Austrian has praised Perez's performance as well as hailing his development as a driver.
Marko: Perez started working when he joined Red Bull!
"[Verstappen] was unlucky with the Safety Car, yes, but Sergio on a street circuit, he has the most podiums here," Marko told the F1 Nation podcast.
"So don't underestimate Sergio. He changed a lot since he came to us. He started working!"
When jokingly asked by Damon Hill if he was taking the credit for Perez's success, Marko responded: "I'm not taking the credit!
"But, before, he was a Mexican race driver who was enjoying life. He still does, but he does the necessary work."
Viewed by others:
Red Bull result a 'proper' birthday present for Marko
Perez became the most successful Mexican driver in Formula 1 during the 2022 season after surpassing the number of wins achieved by Pedro Rodriguez, as Marko can recall.
"Last year, he was looking [at] how many races were won by the Rodriguez brothers," Marko explained.
"He is the most successful driver from Mexico now, and they have a long history and good drivers."
Perez's victory in Baku came just days after Marko celebrated his 80th birthday, and he admits that it was his preferred present rather than the many cakes he received.
"[It was a] very decent [present] and a proper one, not the ninth or 10th cake I got," he added.
"Wherever I went – restaurant, bar, everywhere – a cake showed up!"
Balve Bains is joined by RacingNews365.com Editorial Director Dieter Rencken and Asia Correspondent Michael Butterworth to dissect the key talking points from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.