With Perez signed, Verstappen and Red Bull look for Canada reset

football07 June 2024 04:05| © Reuters
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Sergio Perez © Getty Images

With Sergio Perez signing a two-year extension this week to remain with Red Bull as wing man for three-time world champion Max Verstappen, who gave the decision two thumbs up, the Formula One leaders were all smiles on Thursday.

The future of the Red Bull driver line-up had been rich with speculation through the early part of the season with a number of names, including Ferrari's Carlos Sainz and RB's Daniel Ricciardo, rumoured to take over the coveted seat.

Red Bull put an end to that growing distraction on Tuesday with both Perez and Verstappen expressing their happiness in the outcome ahead of the weekend's Canada Grand Prix.

"Like every situation, you always have a process to go through which is not always really nice," said the 34-year-old Mexican. "So it's really nice to get this distraction for the team and for myself out of the way so that we can focus on performance.

"I think, and that's the best thing for our team."

With challenges to their dominance coming from all directions Red Bull will try for a reset in Montreal as Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes look to make life miserable for them at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Verstappen was dominant in Montreal a year ago, leading every lap from pole, but he faces a fight for a third successive victory at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

There have been three different winners in the last three races and, after winning 19 of 22 in the most one-sided Formula One season last year, Verstappen has now failed to win three of the last six.

Perez has proven to be the consummate domestic helping Verstappen to three drivers titles, sometimes grudgingly but always doing his duty and the team will be looking for that support on Sunday.

"Finally," said Verstappen. "It is great news that Checo has signed.

"I'm happy that he's staying, we always worked well and it brings stability to the team."

Talk around the paddock was that Perez has Verstappen to thank for his extension with the Dutchman not wanting to break in a new teammate, who might not be as willing to defer to him.

"I think the best thing to do is just to close the visor and focus on my job, do the best for myself, for my career, said Perez. "At the end of the day, when my career is finished, it's the only thing that will matter to me.

"What people have to say I appreciate that everyone has their opinion, but at the end of the day, I'm here to do the best for my career and I'm happy with what I have achieved."