Toto Wolff has expressed his concern at the increasing threat to Mercedes' F1 title hopes being posed by the growing influence of Sergio Perez in grands prix.
Following a stuttering start this season with Red Bull after his move from Racing Point over the winter, Perez has come to the fore in the last two races.
In the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the Mexican was in place to pick up his maiden win with the team in the wake of Max Verstappen's high-speed blow-out.
Whilst at the weekend in France, Perez was in the ideal position to thwart Mercedes' plans, allowing Red Bull to run opposing strategies with its drivers and secure a one-three finish as Verstappen claimed his fourth win of the campaign.
As Wolff noted post-race, Perez's performance proved a major hurdle. He said: “The two-stop was a danger for us because Perez was in the way and we got it [strategy] wrong.”
Asked whether he now saw Red Bull as a greater threat this season due to Perez, as Red Bull finally has a number two driver worthy of the tag, Wolff replied: “Absolutely.
"If Perez hadn’t have been in the window we would have, at least with one car, opted for a second stop and then basically put the other Red Bull car in a difficult situation.
“At that stage, you have four cars that are racing each other.”
Wolff has confirmed his team "always knew" Perez was a blocker for their own two-stop strategy, adding: "He was always in the window and he wasn’t far off.
"He was obviously not in contention for the podium at the beginning but they were able to go long and that proved to be the right strategy to make it back to the podium.”
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