Shortly after the Monaco Grand Prix, Red Bull had announced that Sergio Perez had signed a two-year contract extension, which would keep him with the team till 2024 at the very least. This came after what had been a fairly strong start to the season, with three second-place finishes before Monaco.
With his defense against Lewis Hamilton in Abu Dhabi last year, he would certainly have been in the good graces of everyone at Red Bull – especially Max Verstappen, who Perez says he has a relationship of very deep mutual respect with. The Red Bull duo definitely seem to be on very good terms.
Perhaps the contract extension – which was signed before Monaco, played a part in his inspired driving because Sergio Perez looked very strong for the entirety of the Grand Prix weekend in Monte-Carlo. In the end, he took his first victory of the season, and his first since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix last year, maybe due in part to Red Bull’s spot-on strategic call. But no one could say that he did not deserve the win.
Sergio Perez wanted to retire at the same time as Helmut Marko
Sergio Perez was pleased that he got the contract extension this early in the season – which would have played a part in motivating him to do even better in the coming race weekends. As quoted by PlanetF1, he said:
“It’s good to get that out of the way, because always negotiating a contract during a season it definitely takes energy out of you.”
Perez also revealed something he had said to Red Bull advisor, Helmut Marko. He said:
“I even wanted a longer-term contract, I told Helmut [Marko] ‘I want to retire at the same time as you’.”
The Mexican was also asked if ‘team orders’ were a point of contention while he was signing the contract, but to this, he responded in the negative.
“To be honest that was never even in the conversation. To me it’s very clear and to the team, I’m here because I want to win and it’s always hard to get a contract out of Helmut and Christian, so that’s why these things take a bit longer.”
His good working relationship with Verstappen must have played a part in easing the negotiations with Red Bull – but Perez has made clear that he is targeting the championship. He is currently around 21 points behind, and with many more races to go, anything is possible.