Max Verstappen says he is excited by the arrival of his new Red Bull Formula 1 teammate Sergio Perez and hopes to be able to fight Mercedes more across the 2021 season. 

Red Bull announced on Friday that Perez would be replacing Alex Albon for next year, with the Thai-racer demoted to a test and reserve role following a disappointing first full-season with the team. 

Albon struggled to match Verstappen’s level of performance throughout 2020 which resulted in the Dutchman having to fight the Mercedes duo single-handedly for podiums and victories. 

Verstappen believes that outgoing Racing Point driver Perez will “keep me on my toes” and help push Red Bull in the right direction to pose a greater threat to Mercedes next season. 

"I don’t think it’s going to change anything to my performance but it’s more that we'll have a second car which is capable of being up there as well the whole race and trying to put a bit of pressure on,” said Verstappen.

"For example, like in Abu Dhabi, at the end, Alex was quite close and it just prevents Mercedes trying to go for an extra stop or whatever, and then I'm in more difficulties.  

“Most of the time when we were quite competitive this year, I was the only car trying to beat them, and tried to do something different. But they can always do the right strategy with one of them, because they will always cover me with one car, so it was always a bit difficult to fight them.

“And I just hope that Checo will be the one to first of all push the whole team forward, but also keep me on my toes, which is always nice. To have a teammate pushing you, it's exciting.

"Hopefully we can, with a bit more of a competitive car from the start, make it just a bit more interesting and difficult for them to make decisions.”

Asked if he had provided any input to Red Bull regarding its choice of Perez over Albon, Verstappen replied: “Of course we spoke about it and I just give my honest opinion.

“And I think it was quite clear that during the whole year it was sometimes quite tricky for Alex. He is a great guy honestly and I’m happy that he’s part of the team still. 

"But at the end of the day, of course it's Helmut [Marko] and Christian and of course Dietrich [Mateschitz] making the decisions.

"Of course I knew a bit before. But at the end of the day that doesn't matter."

 

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