Felipe Massa defends Sergio Pérez by saying that Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton would not beat Max Verstappen either. According to the Brazilian, Verstappen’s talent is at another level and what he has shown this season is unprecedented. Massa seems to imply that no driver would now be able to keep up with Verstappen.
Verstappen already painfully exposed the differences between himself and Pérez in 2022, and did so again in 2023. The Dutchman won continuously from Miami onwards, but he did not win the Singapore Grand Prix. Pérez then had a number of very difficult weekends, both before and after the summer break, and is under a lot of pressure. Although he has shown a number of things that many say Red Bull Racing should not continue with him in 2024, Christian Horner and Helmut Marko continue to indicate that the Mexican ‘just’ has a contract with the Austrian racing team in 2024.
“As long as Max is happy and the team wins the drivers’ and constructors’ championship, I think it would be wise to leave things as they are,” Massa told Formula 1 magazine about Red Bull’s lineup. “What Max has shown this season is unprecedented,” the Brazilian continues. “Even if we put Lewis Hamilton or Fernando Alonso in the other car, I’m not sure it would change much. Maybe a little, but believe me, they wouldn’t beat Max either,” thinks the former Ferrari driver.
‘Max feels good of course’
Verstappen himself does not really care who he has next to him. At the moment that makes sense, there is nothing wrong with the three-time world champion. He won his third title in Japan, with six races to go. ‘Max naturally feels good and wins almost every race. For him, any change would be a worsening,” says Massa. During the Mexican GP, Fernando Alonso was discussed as a possible teammate of Verstappen.
The Spaniard, Horner and Marko have ruled out that possibility. Massa believes that although the battle would be more intense, the gain would not change the final balance. ‘Let’s be honest. “We would all prefer to see the championship decided in the last round, like in Abu Dhabi in 2021. If we think like that, we undoubtedly want the best driver on the grid to succeed Pérez after Max,” said the Brazilian.