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Imagine you are home to the best driver in world racing, arguably one of the best of all time. A man that some fans will claim has ruined the sport by making it too predictable, a man who is the youngest ever Grand Prix winner, and the youngest ever driver to compete in Formula 1.

Sounds great right?

However, an F1 team is a two-driver team, and who on earth do you pair with Max Verstappen?

This is the question that has haunted Red Bull since 2017, with drivers Daniel Riccardo, Pierre Gasly, Alex Albon and Sergio Perez all featuring under Verstappen’s looming shadow. In this article, we will look at each of the current options and see who is best fit to take that seat in 2024.

Sergio Perez

Perez is the current driver at RB Racing and being that his contract runs until the end of the 2024 season, he is the most likely to be in that seat come next year. However, things in sport are never really that simple, and Perez’s recent form has led to fans beginning to question him, with some reports revealing he may be considering retirement as per Sports Illustrated. “Checo” Perez is a mixed bag of results as over the season he has held onto 2nd in the driver’s championship, but with two DNF’s in his last six, you can’t blame for fans to expect better from the Mexican driver.

Daniel Ricciardo

Fan favourite Daniel Ricciardo returned to Red Bull as their reserve driver for this season, although he wasn’t missed for long as Nick De Vries’ poor form led to Riccardo replacing him at Alpha Tauri, Red Bull’s second team. It’s very difficult to judge the Honey Badger’s time at AT, with a broken wrist ruling him out for two months of that time. However, in the time he has had, he has amassed six points in only seven races, a strong feat considering he is in control of a mediocre car. To boost the Ricciardo argument even more, he raced for Red Bull when Verstappen made his breakthrough in 2016 so a friendly reunion may be on the cards.

Liam Lawson

Not many fans would have expected rookie reserve driver Liam Lawson to make such an impact this season, filling in for Ricciardo during his wrist injury, Lawson only had five races to make his mark, and that he did, becoming the first AT driver other than Yuki Tsunoda to score points. Finishing 9th as a rookie in his third F1 race with a lower tier car on the grid was an unbelievable achievement and reminded a lot of fans of his potential, while leaving a few to question what he could do sitting in the best car on the grid.

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Ultimately, partnering Red Bull’s priority in Max Verstappen is no easy feat and while any of these drivers could struggle with the pressure, they all have the capability to excel in the powerful RB race car, only in the off season will we get our answer.

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May 2024