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.

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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 Total-Motorsport.com.

“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.

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