Perez told to ‘be more Rosberg’ and “get under Verstappen’s skin”

Anthony Davidson feels Sergio Perez has to stop playing ‘Mr Nice Guy’ and needs to “get under Max Verstappen’s skin” if he is going to win this year's F1 world championship.
Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing and
Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing and

The Red Bull duo find themselves locked in a private duel for the 2023 F1 title after sharing two wins apiece from the opening four races this season.

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Perez’s latest victory in Azerbaijan saw him reduce Verstappen’s championship lead to just six points heading into this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix

Former F1 driver Davidson believes Perez needs to replicate the tactics used by Nico Rosberg during his sole championship success against Lewis Hamilton in 2016 if he wants to beat Verstappen to this year’s drivers’ crown. 

“I think he realises that he’s come to this crossroads now this season already,” Davidson told the Sky Sports F1 Podcast. 

“It’s hit him pretty hard in that he’s got the car to do it. This new car from Red Bull seems to suit his style better. He’s getting more in bed with the team and in bed with how the car feels. 

“It only takes a few tweaks here and there, season-to-season for a driver to find their niche, their sweet spot in how they can get the most out of the car to extrapolate all of that performance. I think he knows he’s there. 

“Sure, there are circuits to come later this year - your Zandvoorts, your Interlagos’, the Silverstone’s, the Suzuka’s - where Max is going to shine. We all know it, and he [Perez] knows it too.

“So what do you do? You’ve got to be more Rosberg 2016. That’s what you’ve got to do. I was always told from team bosses that I was too nice. I think they were right. That’s what made me a much better sportscar driver, I was more of a team player. 

1st place Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing RB19. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4, Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Baku Street
1st place Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing RB19. Formula 1 World…

“I think now it’s time for Sergio to stop being ‘Mr Nice Guy’. He’s got to take a leaf out of Rosberg 2016 and maybe, as much as it might hurt, to be the guy that he doesn’t want really to be.”

Davidson added: “He’s got to make sacrifices and decisions this season that might go the way that his family doesn’t want him to go. 

“He might have to take himself away - what Rosberg did - he might have to say things to the team they don’t want him to say, or he doesn’t necessarily feel comfortable saying. 

“He’s got to get under Max Verstappen’s skin. He’s got to annoy him. This is his moment and it might only be his one chance. I think he knows and we all know it as well. He’s so close. Just six points behind after four races and he’s looking good. 

“I don’t think he’ll be able to do it if he plays ‘Mr Nice Guy’ this year."

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