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Sergio Perez has suggested his struggles at Red Bull throughout the 2021 season would be matched by team-mate Max Verstappen if he joined another outfit like Mercedes. Perez played a pivotal role in Verstappen’s maiden world title victory but had to get to grips with an entirely different car than he’s used to.

 

 

After seven years with Force India/Racing Point, the Mexican replaced Alex Albon as Verstappen’s Red Bull partner for the 2021 campaign.

 

 

He instantly encountered the differences between Mercedes and Honda power units and the switch from a low to high-rake philosophy.

Not just the car’s aerodynamic design but also the Honda PU added to Perez’s challenging first year.

 

 

 

And the adaptation period showed in his topsy-turvy results, ending the season fourth in the Drivers’ Championship with five podium finishes.

 

 

Despite Verstappen’s world champion status, Perez believes he would endure similar woes if he moved to Mercedes after growing accustomed to the Red Bull car’s philosophy.

 

 

 

He said: “Yes, of course. Even as a driver, you underestimate those things until you live them, you experience them.

“Driving a different power unit, it’s a completely different task. Driving a completely different philosophy of car with a higher rake versus a lower rake, it’s a completely different task.

 

 

 

“The way you approach things are just extremely different, and you have to learn new techniques. Basically, what I used to do, nothing really worked here [with Red Bull].

“It would be the same, for example, if Max went to Mercedes. They [the cars] are just very different.

 

 

 

“They produce very similar lap times, but the way they get the lap time is extremely different.”

Perez is due to stay with Red Bull for the 2022 season, in which Team Principal Christian Horner will be itching to get his hands on the Constructors’ Championship.

 

 

 

Despite his team getting the last laugh in the drivers’ standings, Mercedes claimed the constructors’ title for the eighth year running.

With George Russell replacing Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes, Perez and Verstappen should have more team chemistry on their side next season.

 

 

 

Lewis Hamilton will be vying for a record-breaking eighth world title, though, and his dominance in recent years has been enough to keep Mercedes on top.

It will be Perez’s job once again to support Verstappen in his quest to lift back-to-back titles.

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