Toto Wolff, the team principal of Mercedes, has expressed his bewilderment at the considerable difference in performance between Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.
During the qualifying session for the Dutch GP, the gap between them was an enormous 1.3 seconds.
As Verstappen clinched his ninth consecutive victory and matched a record at his home race, Perez struggled to match his teammate’s pace.
Perez managed to take the lead in the early phases. Verstappen chose to remain on the track, while the Mexican driver opted for intermediate tires as the rain began to fall.
However, the team’s strategy effectively undercut Perez’s advantage. They decided to pit Verstappen first, creating a gap for Perez to close.
Verstappen reclaimed the lead and maintained it throughout the race, securing his third consecutive victory at his home race.
Verstappen’s teammates have often struggled to match his performance levels in the past, and this trend has continued with Perez. Despite high expectations at the start of the season, Perez has seen Verstappen surge ahead both in championship points and raw speed.
Wolff expressed his bewilderment at this gap, particularly given Perez’s track record as a multiple Grand Prix victor.
Wolff speaking to the media after the race said: “It’s strange, really strange.”
“Checo is no fool. He’s a seasoned Grand Prix winner, and his performance at Racing Point was commendable. I can’t make heads or tails of it.”
Throughout his Formula 1 journey, Verstappen has consistently showcased superior performance compared to his teammates.
His undeniable supremacy and established position as the primary contender at Red Bull have at times led to strains within the team.
Despite this well-established trend, Wolff admitted he remains unable to pinpoint a definitive reason for the substantial disparity in performance between the two drivers.
“Whether it’s his knack for tailoring the car to his driving style, which might be difficult for others to adapt to but offers speed if mastered, it’s hard to say. But the 1.3-second gap is baffling, to say the least,” Wolff added.