Felipe Massa takes aim at Red Bull’s Sergio Perez

The former Ferrari driver sees Max Verstappen as the big drivers’ championship favourite in F1 2023


Felipe Massa has aimed some rather sharp criticism at Red Bull driver Sergio Perez, with the Brazilian admitting that he believes Max Verstappen‘s dominance in F1 is showing no signs of ending any time soon.

After coming tantalizingly close to the F1 championship in 2008, the former Ferrari and Williams driver doesn’t believe there is any chance of a repeat of his close title charge from any other driver on the grid. 

Not least from Verstappen‘s Red Bull teammate, Perez. Although he at least acknowledged there was an outside chance for Lewis Hamilton or Charles Leclerc.

“Like Max and Lewis, Charles is an exceptional driver, he is currently the biggest title contender against Red Bull,” Massa told Bild.

“Their second driver, Sergio Perez, is too inconsistent.”

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez of Red Bull during qualifying ahead of the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

It’s unclear just why Massa feels so strongly about the Mexican, although their time in F1 did result in some rather ugly crashes, with the Brazilian seemingly blaming Perez for such incidents.

The former Ferrari and Williams driver singled out the Dutchman as the favourite to win the F1 drivers’ championship once again after his triumphs in 2021 and 2022. 

“I definitely see Verstappen as the favourite, what he and Red Bull have shown is impressive,” Massa said.

“Max doesn’t make mistakes, Red Bull works perfectly, and the engine is strong. Just as it was with Michael Schumacher at Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes. The conditions are ideal for a Red Bull era.

“Max drives like a robot, he is extremely mature for his age, and the two titles made him even better. He’s more relaxed now and not as stubborn as in previous years.”

Lewis Hamilton at 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix | Mercedes F1 Team

A mistake to write Hamilton off

Nobody knows the impact the competitive spirit of Sir Lewis Hamilton better than Massa. It was the young Brit who ruined his title charge in 2008, and the pair endured a blistering rivalry on the track for a couple of years after that. 

With this in mind, the Brazilian has urged the rest of the grid not to give up on the British veteran, insisting that he has what it takes to turn a struggling Mercedes car around.

“It would be a mistake to write him off. Along with Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna, he is the best driver to ever drive in Formula 1; besides his experience, he has a very good driving instinct,” Massa concluded.

“Lewis can be world champion again, but for that he needs a competitive car, and he doesn’t have that at the moment.”

As for whether a new era has begun in the top class of motorsport under Verstappen, Felipe Massa believes that is simply unavoidable. 

“I think it’s happening right now, he’s become world champion for the last two years and I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t get the hat-trick. What’s more, he can also win four, five or six titles in a row,” Massa said.

John Smith
John Smithhttps://total-motorsport.com
Editor at Total-Motorsport.com and all round Motorsport journalist specialising in Formula 1, IndyCar and Formula E.
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