According to Peter Windsor, Max Verstappen is exhibiting symptoms of the “Sebastian Vettel syndrome” when it comes to competing against Sergio Perez at Red Bull.
Heading into this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix, Max Verstappen holds a six-point lead over Sergio Perez, who secured his second victory of the season in Azerbaijan. Perez’s impressive win involved him fending off Verstappen in a head-to-head battle after inheriting the lead during a Safety Car intervention.
Windsor has also highlighted Perez’s reputation as a street circuit specialist, having won in Baku, Monaco, Jeddah, and Singapore while racing for Red Bull. This has led Windsor to draw comparisons between Verstappen’s situation and that of Sebastian Vettel, who won four consecutive titles with Red Bull between 2010 and 2013 before being outperformed by his new teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, in 2014.
Vettel subsequently moved to Ferrari after a winless season with Red Bull, and Windsor believes that his prior success may have prevented him from being introspective in the face of his defeat to Ricciardo. Likewise, following Perez’s victory in Monaco last year, Windsor sees similar signs in Verstappen.
Speaking via his YouTube channel, Peter Windsor said: “Max got beaten in Baku because of his inferior technique on traction corners when there are long straights afterwards to reward perfect traction.
“That’s how he got beaten, so that’s an area where he needs to improve as I’ve been saying since Monaco last year.
“I always said it was going to be interesting by the time we got to Baku to see if he was a different driver in that respect – and he hasn’t improved. I think there’s going to be a question about that.
“I think it’s the Sebastian Vettel syndrome.
“When the writing was on the wall at Red Bull that he wasn’t doing as good a job as Daniel Ricciardo, he just left and went to Ferrari and didn’t work on the areas where he needed to if he had really looked deeply and just assumed that going to Ferrari as a four-times World Champion because he could do no wrong would result in four more World Championships.
“And it didn’t happen.
“[It’s the] same way Fernando [Alonso] at McLaren in 2007 assumed that McLaren were favouring Lewis [Hamilton] because Lewis was better in a couple of areas out of the box – but it was because Lewis was actually better in a couple areas out of the box!
“I think it’s the same with Max.
“I think Max probably thinks now: ‘There’s no way I can be learning anything from Sergio Perez.’
“And if he wanted to, and he really got down to it, I’m sure he could improve.
“He’s got enough talent and enough ability to be self-critical to do that.
“But I think the way Formula 1 is now, it’s just like: ‘Wait for the next race, it will be different.’
“If he hasn’t changed between Monaco and Baku this year, it ain’t gonna change before Monaco this year, is it? Or Singapore probably.”