The no-brainer regarding Perez and Red Bull Racing
The Mexican has already made a positive impact at the Milton Keynes team
Sergio Perez s second podium for Red Bull Racing has made it a no-brainer to extend the Mexican's contract beyond this season.
The second seat at Tilbrook has been a notoriously difficult position to be in. Mark Webber, who raced for the team from 2007-2013, felt he was overlooked during his time with Sebastian Vettel as the German won four world championships in a row, while Daniel Ricciardo, Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon have all come under-fire and scrutiny against Max Verstappen since he joined the team in 2016.
Perez's performances for Force India and Racing Point in recent seasons earned him a lot of plaudits, and signing for Red Bull this season, initially on a one-year deal, was a huge opportunity for the man who had been perilously close to being out of the sport completely for 2021.
This season offers the first chance for Red Bull to fight meaningfully for the world championship since 2013, and with Verstappen battling it out against both Mercedes drivers of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, he needed some help. Perez has done that with aplomb.
Playing the rear-gunner perfectly in Azerbaijan, Perez inherited the win when Verstappen's tyre blew, taking vital points off Mercedes in the process as Red Bull extended their lead in the constructor's championship.
Known to be good on his tyres, he ran much longer than the rest in France on Sunday and after allowing the charging Verstappen through to battle for the lead, Perez cruised up to Bottas to claim third spot and a double podium for the team - the first of the season. He even fancied a shot at Hamilton for second but ran out of laps. And it's those sorts of results which Albon could not deliver last season, ultimately costing him his job for this year.
Partnering the relentless Verstappen is no easy feat, so Perez's initial one-year contract at Tilbrook made sense from the team's point of view - should he struggle, keeping him for another year would only leave them having to tip-toe through the minefield of speculation again, just as they had to with Albon last year.
Still learning the ways with the car, the team will want more from Perez in qualifying to help them have more of an upper hand in strategy when it comes to race day, and back-to-back races in Austria - the circuit owned by Red Bull - will help him find a bit more consistency in his new surroundings.
With Verstappen extending his lead in the driver's championship in France, and Red Bull opening the gap to Mercedes in the constructor's standings, Perez's impact on the team is already making positive waves. Just seven races into a 23-race calendar, keeping him at the team next season already makes perfect sense.