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Wolff baffled by Perez struggles: 'He is not an idiot'

Perez was 1.3 seconds down on Verstappen in Dutch GP qualifying.

Perez Zandvoort
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff has insisted Sergio Perez is "not an idiot" after the Mexican was left a puzzling 1.3 seconds adrift of Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen in Dutch Grand Prix qualifying.

Perez has struggled over one lap this season, with his troubles including a run of five races in a row without a Q3 appearance triggered by a crash in the first session at the Monaco Grand Prix.

The rough patch has contributed to a 125-point margin being opened up at the top of the Drivers' standings as Verstappen eases towards a third consecutive title.

Perez's difficulty in matching Verstappen since taking victory at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix has led to criticism and pressure being applied, with Red Bull's hierarchy sending mixed signals over his future with the team.

Asked if he could explain the discrepancy between the two Red Bull drivers after Perez qualified seventh on at Zandvoort, Wolff told media including RacingNews365.com: "Odd, bizarre - Checo is not an idiot.

"We have seen it all these years, Checo is a Grand Prix winner, a multiple Grand Prix winner and he was at Racing Point.

"I cannot comprehend... we have seen Max destroy every single teammate that was with him, whether it is the ability to create a car around himself that is just very tricky to control but fast if you can... that makes those gaps.

"But 1.3 seconds? I haven't heard any explanations, but odd."

F1 2023 Dutch Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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