F1: Red Bull's Verstappen gets in shape for new season
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Sergio Perez is hopeful that he can compete for the F1 world title this season after joining Red Bull. Perez has replaced Alexander Albon, who has become Red Bull’s reserve driver, and will partner Max Verstappen.
The 30-year-old signed an initial one-year deal and, after earning his first race victory last season, he is aiming to challenge the dominance of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes.
Speaking to the Guardian, Perez said: “Winning is everything.
“You come into F1 with ambition to become a world champion but very early on I realised you have to be in the right spot at the right time to be able to contend for the title. Hopefully this year I am and I can fight for it.
“My story has been about not giving up, pushing and delivering.
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“That’s the main thing for me to be able to have a car that can challenge for the championship.
“To prove to myself that I can do it.”
Red Bull’s team principal Christian Horner has backed Perez to be a success at his new team, explaining that the driver’s performance in his first race win in Bahrain last season persuaded them that he would be the perfect partner for Verstappen.
“Once Sergio won that race in Bahrain he produced a compelling argument that he was the right guy to put in a car alongside Max,” Horner said.
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“We saw what he did last year, he got his hands on a competitive car and he made good use of it. His racecraft, his ability to nurture the tyres stand out, real positives and his wealth of experience.
“That’s why we brought Sergio in, to bolster the strength of the team. It would have been easy to stay with the junior driver programme but it demonstrates how hungry this team is for success that for the first time since 2007 we have stepped outside the junior programme to take on a driver of Sergio’s ability.”
Perez recently spoke about the change in mentality at Red Bull, explaining that the team has a winning mindset.
Speaking to the Beyond the Grid podcast, he said: “Red Bull is a very big team and you can see the passion in it for winning.
“Everyone who works here, their mindset is about winning. Winning, winning, winning. Winning is everything.
“When I was at Racing Point it was a bit different because we didn’t have… such a car underneath us.
“So just the mindset is different because you are there to maximise your result. But here, maximising your result means winning. And that’s something really good, and everyone is highly motivated.
“But at the end of the day, it’s still a Formula 1 team, everyone is under pressure, everyone is looking to deliver from day one.”
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