Kees van de Grint has given his opinion on Sergio Perez and Valtteri Bottas.
On RTL Slipstream, van de Grint defended the two drivers, saying that their role is a tricky one in F1. Being the second driver at a team with a clear top driver is a role difficult to do properly, as you are not just expected to excel, but required to assist your teammate. Being teammates with drivers as talented as Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton respectively is a tough task.
First, van de Grint gave his opinion on Perez. He stated that especially in recent years, it has become a very difficult task to drive for Red Bull.
“It’s not easy to sit next to Verstappen and I think he’s done a good job anyway. For now, it’s the best second man for years,” he said.
Perez is not the only good driver struggling with a top role. There exists Bottas, who is having a lacklustre season this year. Although it is harsh to judge the Finn after one bad season, this one has exposed how difficult Mercedes can find things when their second driver is having problems. In fact, Bottas’ future is very much up in the air.
Bottas is in his contract’s final year, and could be on his way out. He looks set to be replaced by George Russell. Van de Grint gave his opinion on that as well, but he refused to pick a side.
“Those noises I hear from England are getting louder and louder. Maybe that’s to create an opening again,” Van de Grint said.
All to play for
Perez and Bottas are doing good work in the season despite their setbacks. A challenge for the WDC looks impossible, so they have to focus on the team. That would mean preventing Mercedes and Red Bull drivers from finishing of them respectively. On a personal level, Bottas leads Perez by four points, and that is nothing at this stage of the season.
The battle for the Constructor’s championship will resume in Belgium. Perez and Bottas will be key in that chess match, and they are pieces that could make a difference when the race is over.