Toto Wolff questions Red Bull: Baffled by ‘strange’ Perez gap to Verstappen

Verstappen has surged ahead of Perez in the championship, despite the Mexican's promising start to the season.


Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has said he is perplexed over the significant performance disparity between Red Bull teammates Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

The gap was a massive 1.3 seconds in the qualifying for the Dutch GP, and the Mexican was unable to keep up with Verstappen as the champion secured a record equalling ninth victory in a row at his home race.

During the race Perez actually led in the early stages, after Verstappen stayed out and the Mexican pitted for intermediate tyres as the rain started to fall.

But the team effectively undercut Perez by opting to pit the Dutchman first, leaving him with a gap to chase and Verstappen retaking a lead he wouldn’t relinquish and securing a third consecutive home race win.

For Perez by contrast, he missed out on a podium after he was found to have sped in the pitlane in the closing stages of the race, earning him a five-second time penalty and dropping to fourth behind the Alpine of Pierre Gasly.

It’s not the first time that Verstappen’s teammates have found it challenging to match his performance levels, and that pattern has continued with Perez, who initially had high hopes for this season but has since seen Verstappen pull far ahead, both in championship points and raw speed.

Wolff said that he finds this gap puzzling, especially considering Perez’s credentials as a multiple Grand Prix winner.

“It’s strange, really strange,” Wolff said to the media, including

“Checo is no fool. He’s a seasoned Grand Prix winner, and his performance at Racing Point was commendable. I can’t make heads or tails of it.”

Baffling gap

Verstappen has consistently outperformed teammates across his time in F1, with his dominance and clear number one status at Red Bull occasionally causing tensions in the garage.

But despite that track record, Wolff said he still couldn’t find a clear explanation for the size of the performance gap between the two drivers.

“Whether it’s his knack for tailoring the car to his driving style, which might be difficult for others to adapt to but offers speed if mastered, it’s hard to say. But the 1.3-second gap is baffling, to say the least,” Wolff added.

- Advertisment -


Start of the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix of | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1 winners and losers from 2024 Chinese GP

Formula 1's return to Shanghai after a five-year absence sputtered with some bright moments but failed to really ignite...
Lando Norris during 2024 Chinese GP | McLaren F1 Team

Lando Norris shines in China but McLaren star remains F1’s nearly man

Lando Norris will come away from the Formula 1 2024 Chinese Grand Prix with a feeling of euphoria and...
Sergio Perez leads Lando Norris of McLaren during the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1 Chinese GP 2024: Driver Ratings

Max Verstappen enjoyed total domination at the Formula 1 2024 Chinese Grand Prix to extend his lead at the...
Scot Dixon celebrate win at 2024 IndyCar Grand Prix of Long Beach | Penske Entertainment: James Black

How does he do it? IndyCar’s ultimate ninja pulls off sensational Long Beach heist

Nobody knows how he does it but Scott Dixon is a freak of nature when it comes to saving...
The cars get ready for the 2024GEICO 500 at Talladega | NASCAR/X

NASCAR 2024 GEICO 500 highlights and results: Reddick wins in Talladega

Reddick comes through for first Cup win The NASCAR Cup Series' GEICO 500 was oddly clean for a Talladega Superspeedway...
Lando Norris celebrates finishing second at the 2024 Chinese GP | McLaren

Lando Norris mystified at McLaren 2024 Chinese GP pace

If Max Verstappen didn’t exist, Lando Norris would be a Formula 1 race winner after he finished second at...
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner and Max Verstappen talk in the Paddock ahead of 2024 Australian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Fiery Horner reignites Wolff feud over Verstappen rumours: I don’t think Toto’s problems are...

Christian Horner launched a stinging attack on Toto Wolff over the Mercedes team principal stoking rumours that Max Verstappen...
Toto Wolff at 2023 United States Grand Prix | Mercedes / Sebastian Kawka

Toto Wolff in ‘simple minds’ jibe at Horner over Max Verstappen

Toto Wolff has aimed a thinly-veiled swipe at Christian Horner by suggesting only 'simple minds' believe Max Verstappen would...
Daniel Ricciardo of Visa Cash App RB during Sprint Qualifying ahead of 2024 Chinese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Daniel Ricciardo handed grid penalty for 2024 Miami Grand Prix

Daniel Ricciardo's challenging weekend at the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix has been compounded by a three-grid place penalty issued...
Guanyu Zhou gets emotional on the grid after the 2024 Chinese GP | Sauber

Zhou Guanyu in tears after making F1 history

In an emotionally charged scene at the end of the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix, Sauber's Zhou Guanyu achieved...
- Advertisment -