Sergio Perez must make peace with the fact that he is the second driver at Red Bull behind Max Verstappen, according to Sky Sports F1 analyst Ted Kravitz.
The Mexican was left considerably frustrated during the 2022 F1 Spanish GP after Red Bull favored his teammate Verstappen when Perez felt he was faster than the Dutchman. When Verstappen struggled to get past George Russell while dealing with a malfunctioning DRS mechanism, Checo was told to hold station. After Perez took and held the lead in the race, he was asked to move aside to let Verstappen through.
On his cool-down lap, the 32-year-old expressed his disappointment on team radio, saying:
“I am happy for the team but we will speak later.”
Now, Kravitz feels Perez must come to terms with the reality of his situation at Red Bull. In his post-race notes, the Sky Sports F1 pundit said:
“[Sergio] Perez, they wouldn’t let him pass Max Verstappen to try and get George Russell, and Perez proved that he was able to get George Russell by in fact getting George Russell when Max Verstappen had his spin, so Perez was right on that one. And then Perez is not happy in the end about being treated essentially as a number two driver, but it’s the real world isn’t it Checo? Let’s face it, I think if you don’t realize that this is your position within the Red Bull team, then you’re probably the last person on God’s green earth who doesn’t realize that this is your position within the Red Bull team.”
Kravitz went on to add, saying:
“And while it may say something Checo in your contract, then I think everyone else knows and [it] was clearly demonstrated today that there is only one number one in that Red Bull garage, and it’s not the one with one one  on his car, it’s the one with one  on his car.”
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner was full of praise for Sergio Perez for playing along to the team’s orders and allowing Max Verstappen to pass him and claim victory at the 2022 F1 Spanish GP.
Speaking in an interview with Sky Sports F1 shortly after the race, the 48-year-old Horner said:
“I have to shout out to Checo [Sergio Perez] for playing the team game. They weren’t in the same race today, their strategies were different but he did fantastically well. The problem that we had was we had temperatures raging and the last thing you want to risk is a DNF when you have two cars that could do a 1-2.”
Horner went on to add, saying:
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“We had two cars on different strategies so it wasn’t a straight fight. Checo’s tires wouldn’t have made it to the end so that is why he pitted near the end to get that fastest lap. What Checo couldn’t see at the time was he had such a long stint to do on that medium tire and Max [Verstappen] had such a tire advantage, as a team we didn’t need to take that risk.”
Sergio Perez’s current contract with Red Bull is set to expire at the end of the 2022 campaign. As long as he remains compliant with team orders, the Mexican driver can hope to remain on the team beyond the end of the calendar year.