Formula 1 world championship leader Max Verstappen is keen for Sergio Perez to remain his Red Bull teammate next year.  

The Mexican signed for Red Bull on a one-year deal for the 2021 season and has so far played an integral role in helping the Milton Keynes squad lead both world championships from Mercedes.

Perez claimed his first victory for the team in his sixth race at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and followed that up with a second straight podium by finishing third at last weekend’s French Grand Prix. 

Verstappen praised Perez for the job he has done so far at Red Bull and for being easy to work with. 

“Everything is going really well,” Verstappen said. “I knew Checo before but as a teammate. 

“It’s always a little bit different but I think so far it’s been great and to be able to now work together upfront to get the best result for the team is what you want. 

“For sure, I would want that to continue. He’s a great teammate and we can have a lot of fun as well. We don’t always need to talk about cars and setups and stuff.” 

Verstappen credited Perez’s recent performances in Baku and France for helping Red Bull pull a 37-point lead over Mercedes in the constructors’ championship. 

“Now we have the car to really fight them and it’s super important to be up there with two cars and that’s exactly what we have been doing now in Baku and Paul Ricard,” he added. 

“It’s going to be crucial for the constructors’ as well to keep this up until the end of the year.”

Having got comfortable with his new team and demonstrated what he can do, Perez is eager to open talks over a contract beyond 2021 soon to avoid any unnecessary distractions. 

“Well I think right now we are so busy with the races - three in a row - but there will be some downtime when we can speak about it and hopefully it doesn’t take too long, because I don’t have a good experience when you take that long,” he said. 

“But I see it as a natural thing; once you are comfortable in the team, working with them and the team working with you, it’s something that should happen naturally, happen very smoothly, and we should just take it out of the season and focus on the right stuff.”