Sergio Perez has his sights set on the dethroning Max Verstappen after making a strong start to the 2023 season, according to F1 legend Emerson Fittipaldi.
Perez has two podiums so far, including finishing first in Saudi Arabia, and sits 15 points behind his Red Bull colleague in the early championship standings.
Fittipaldi claimed that Perez will go into Baku with added motivation and a firm belief that he can mount a challenge for Verstappen's title this year.
"Now, Perez is going to be 110% motivated because he has the chance to win the championship. And he knows that. He knows that he has a chance to be the champion," he said. "I’m sure that he will give it his all now because he believes that he can win."
After spring break, the drivers turn their attention to Baku, a track that has proved successful for Perez. He has three podiums there, and won his second Grand Prix in Azerbaijan in 2021.
Perez often saves his best for street races like Baku, and Fittipaldi believes the Mexican's precision driving style fits with the demands of street circuits.
"His style of driving fits very well to street races. His record in street races has always been very good. When driving a street race, you have to be fast and precise, and you can’t make any mistakes because the walls and the barriers are there," the Brazilian told MyBettingSites.
"It is a very difficult technique to master driving fast in a street race, and he is doing that really well."
Street races 'fantastic' for Formula 1
Fittipaldi's motorsport career spanned almost three decades, and he said that street races give F1 the opportunity to make a 'big statement' and attract more fans.
"Formula 1 makes a big statement by racing inside cities. The whole city, the whole country knows there’s a race," he said. "Sometimes at the dedicated circuits, you only see racing fans. In street circuits, the whole city is watching. That’s more important, in my opinion."
This season sees more street races than ever, with the addition of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, and its inclusion in the calendar is a step in the 'right direction by Stefano Domenicali'.
"Like Las Vegas is going to be this year. At night, they’re going to stop Las Vegas because they’ll race on the Strip and the whole city will stop. It will be fantastic and a big statement for Formula 1."
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