Max regarding Perez during FIA Prize Giving Ceremony: 'He brings experience'

Published on 18 December 2020 by Mike Motilall

In this extraordinary year, the FIA Prize Giving Ceremony was held virtually because of the limitations imposed on gatherings as a consequence of the covid-19 pandemic. During the event, which was held in the InterContinental Hotel in Geneva, champions from the different fields of international motorsport are honoured.

Just like last year, Max Verstappen has also been invited due to the fact that he finished third in the Formula 1-world championship standings. Also attending virtually are Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, world champion and second respectively in the championship.

Prior to the ceremony, the prize winners were interviewed on Zoom. It’s been five days since his dominant win in Abu Dhabi. On the question how long that euphoric feeling lasts, Max answers: “I don’t know to be honest, it’s alright now. People always say you’re as good as your last race, so I am pretty pleased with that.”

Max continues: “It was a good way for the whole team to finish the year we had. It was very busy and everyone was looking forward to a break. It was just a very positive weekend in Abu Dhabi and a good boost to head into the Winter and try to deliver a competitive car for next year.”

How do you look back on 2020 as a whole? Max: “It’s been alright. You cannot just purely look at race wins and pole positions. Mercedes has been super dominant and I just have to focus on my personal performance. I think they were an improvement again compared to the years before and that is what you want as a driver so I am very pleased with that.”

And for Red Bull as a team, were there any missed opportunities? Max: “Maybe a few but it wouldn’t have mattered a lot, we still wouldn’t have won the championship. As a team we did a good job. Recovering from the beginning of the year when we had some issues with the car and look where we ended the season now. It’s of course no guarantee that we will do well next year and we still need to improve in certain areas.”

Can you pick your best race of the season? “We nailed the last race, even though it was boring. Also the race in Silverstone which we won. A win is always good it doesn’t matter if it is boring or exciting. But also the race in Hungary with the drama before the start when I hit the wall and the mechanics had to repair the car on the grid and I still finished second. That was also a great result for us.”

With Sergio Perez you have a new team mate next year, can we get your thoughts on that? “He had a great season and did a great job also with the car he had. He brings a bit more experience to the team. I am excited to work together with him. He is a nice guy and I am sure we’ll get along very well and with the two cars I hope that we can make it a bit more difficult for Mercedes next year.”

Can you speak Spanish? “No, but I think he will have to learn Dutch”, says Max cheekily. How competitive do you think Red Bull will be with Sergio on board next year? Max: “I don’t think it’s going to change anything regarding my performance, but it’s more that we have a second car that is capable of being up there the whole race and trying to put some pressure on Mercedes like Alex did in Abu Dhabi at the end. Most of the time it prevents Mercedes from going for an extra stop and I am then in more difficulties. When we were quite competitive, most of the time I was the only car trying to beat them and trying to do something different. But they can always do the right strategy with one of them so they will always cover me with one car. It was always a bit difficult to fight them and I just hope that Sergio will be the one to, first of all, push the whole team forward and also keep me on my toes. It is also nice to have a team mate pushing you and hopefully with a car that is a bit more competitive from the start and to make it more difficult for Mercedes to make strategic decisions.”

Have you been involved in the discussions about Perez? Max: “We spoke about it and I gave my honest opinion. It was pretty clear that throughout the whole year it was sometimes quite tricky for Alex. He is a great guy and honestly I am happy he is still a part of the team. At the end of the day it is Helmut, Christian and Dietrich who are taking the decisions.”