Lewis Hamilton fired warning by Sergio Perez as Red Bull star eyes 2021 battle

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Sergio Perez is hoping to “close the gap to Mercedes” in the upcoming Formula 1 season after replacing Alex Albon at Red Bull. Mercedes have dominated the sport over the past seven seasons, winning both the Drivers and Constructors Championships each year.

Lewis Hamilton has won six of those Drivers’ Championship titles, missing out to team-mate Nico Rosberg in 2016 by just five points.

The Brit is yet to renew his contract with Mercedes for the upcoming season but both parties have remained outwardly confident that a deal will be agreed in time for Hamilton to defend his crown.

And if Hamilton is driving for Mercedes this year, Perez has the reigning champion firmly in his sights.

The Mexican driver won his first race last year at the the Sakhir Grand Prix and, having traded Racing Point for Red Bull, Perez is hopeful his new team can challenge the dominance of Mercedes and Hamilton.

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In an interview with his new team, Perez said: ”I am most looking forward to the new car and seeing how competitive we are.

“We hope to close the gap to Mercedes and hopefully be able to beat them regularly with both cars.

“Of course, this is a huge challenge because the current order cannot be changed overnight, but hopefully we and Mercedes will provide a lot of spectacle in 2021.”

Perez was out of contract at the end of 2020 was delighted when Red Bull came calling, adding: “It felt great, you know.

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“I was waiting all my career to get an opportunity with a top team and it finally came.

“I think it came at the right moment for me. I’m so much looking forward to making it work, to work with the engineers, with Max, to push the team forwards.

“It’s a great challenge for me and I can’t wait to get on track with the team.

Perez is looking forward to working under Red Bull’s team principal Christian Horner, having previously driven for Horner in GP2 back in 2009.

He said: “I worked with Christian and his dad, I drove for him in my first season in GP2. It’s crazy to think after 12 years we’ll be working together again.

“I admire Christian a lot. First of all, he’s a fantastic person to have around you and he’s also a great team leader. There are great times ahead of us.

“I hope we’re going to have a really good season and it’s the only way I can repay Mr Mateschitz, Dr Marko, Christian, Adrian and all the Team.

“Nobody before has given me the chance to be in a big team. We’re going to hear the Mexican national anthem many times next year I hope!”

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