Saturdays in Formula 1 are known for two things right now. One: Max Verstappen on pole and two: Sergio Perez getting knocked out.
The two Red Bull teammates are having wildly different results in the same RB19 car at the moment as the reigning world champion has five poles in a row while Perez has five missed Q3 sessions in that same timeframe.
The Mexican’s latest failure came at the British Grand Prix where he waited at the end of the pitlane for a red flag to clear so he could set his final lap. He initially went fastest but had lost so much tyre temperature that the rapidly improving track allowed everyone else to go even faster.
He ended the Q1 session in 16th and fought his way up through the field to sixth on race day in front of a record Silverstone crowd, but he cannot expect to keep his seat starting outside the top 10 every week.
And that appears to be the talk of the paddock with Italian media outlet La Gazzetta Dello Sport claiming that Alex Albon could be on Red Bull’s radar to replace Perez.
A triumphant return
Albon took over from Pierre Gasly at Red Bull after Helmut Marko lost patience with the Frenchman but the Thai driver was just as ineffective alongside Verstappen and lost his seat to Perez at the end of the 2020 season.
Initially, Perez performed as you would expect a typical number two to do so, occasionally winning but always being close enough to interrupt the nearest rivals. It was that latter point that helped Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton to his maiden title in 2021 after all.
But Perez looked as good as he ever has been at the start of 2023 with two wins from the first four races, after which he stated he was in a title fight with Verstappen. Big mistake.
The Dutchman has since gone on to win every race after the fact while Perez has just one podium at Austria to his name.
Albon, on the other hand, has excelled with Williams and scored all 11 of their constructors’ points this season, vastly out-performing his rookie teammate Logan Sargeant.
Helmut Marko may be impressed with the London-born man now he has matured away from the Red Bull stable, but is this the time to return?
If Albon wants race wins, then he needs to join Red Bull because nobody else has a hope right now but if he is once again pounded by Verstappen, his F1 career could be over and while Perez isn’t on the ball, the Dutchman is so good they don’t need a second driver.
Where is the next F1 2023 race?
With the F1 circus finished at Silverstone, we move on to the 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix which will be held at the Hungaroring, Budapest over the weekend of July 21-23.