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Sergio Perez

Perez future predicted after Verstappen near-miss

Sergio Perez came oh so close to wiping out Max Verstappen at the last race in Miami, but what of his future?

Perez Verstappen close up
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Sergio Perez can expect to stay at Red Bull next season despite nearly wiping out team-mate Max Verstappen at the last race in Miami.

Starting from fourth on the grid, Perez was described as "a torpedo" by Ferrari's Carlos Sainz as he hurtled into the first corner, coming within inches of collecting Verstappen and nearly taking both out of the race as there was the slightest contact.

The incident was not too dissimilar to his start in his home race in Mexico last year when he again made an audacious move into Turn 1, only to out-brake himself and collide with Charles Leclerc in his Ferrari.

Assessing what could have proven to be a costly incident in Miami, former Force India, Aston Martin and Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer, speaking on the latest RacingNews365 podcast, said: "He got away with it.

"I understand it. He was fourth on the grid and probably the quickest way to go from fourth to third to second is at the start. If you don't do that it's then overtaking, you have to set people up, it takes longer, you've got to wait for DRS, all sorts of things.

"But at the start, you can make up a couple of places, and a lot of drivers do. As it turned out, he didn't hit anyone. Maybe Max a little bit, I didn't realise that.

"But thereafter he settled in and put in a solid performance, finishing fourth. It's where he started, decent points."

'The combination seems to be working'

Perez managed to retain his second position in the drivers' standings, although has fallen 33 points behind Verstappen, and is five ahead of Leclerc going into next weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola.

Whilst recognising Perez "has got to perform to keep his drive" for next season as he is out of contract at the end of the year, Szafnauer feels the decision for team principal Christian Horner and advisor Helmut Marko is a straightforward one.

"I think Checo is a great number two to Max," added Szafnauer. "When he settles in he doesn't make many mistakes, he's second in the championship, and that's where you want him to be.

"I think this year, towards the end of last year, he has really stepped it up, and is doing the job for Red Bull. Let's see how that continues in the future.

"I hear they've an upgrade coming for Imola, which is the next race, so it will be really interesting to see how their upgrade works, and how Max and Checo perform at Imola once they've put the upgrade on the car, versus McLaren and the Ferraris."

Asked directly whether he felt Perez would be at Red Bull next season, Szafnauer replied: "Yeah, I think he will. I think he's doing a good job. If I were making that decision, I would keep him. The combination seems to be working.

"Next year there will again be no big regulation change, and for me, if that combination of drivers is working then I would keep it the same."

Also interesting:

Join RacingNews365's Ian Parkes and Nick Golding as they are joined by ex-Formula 1 team principal Otmar Szafnauer to discuss the 'silliest of silly seasons' as well as McLaren and Lando Norris' victory at the Miami Grand Prix.

Rather watch than listen to our podcast? Click here

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