(Reuters) - Racing Point team owner Lawrence Stroll hailed his race winner Sergio Perez on Sunday and said he hoped Formula One rivals Red Bull signed the Mexican for next season.
Perez’s victory in Bahrain made him the first Mexican race winner in 50 years, but he is leaving Racing Point after next weekend’s Abu Dhabi season-ender to make way for Germany’s four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel from Ferrari.
The Silverstone-based team’s other driver is Lance Stroll, 22-year-old son of the owner, who finished third at Sakhir on Sunday.
“Checo (Perez) has been a fantastic asset and he’s been an asset for this team a long time before I’ve arrived,” Stroll senior told Sky Sports television. Stroll renamed the team after rescuing Force India from administration in 2018.
“He most definitely proves every weekend that he deserves to be in a car next year and I hope he’s in that Red Bull (car) next year.”
Perez, who has had two podium finishes in the last three races and stands fourth in the world championship, has said he has options with a top team for 2022.
The only chance of continuing next year at former champions Red Bull, however, would be if they have a vacancy.
Red Bull are considering whether to continue with Thai racer Alexander Albon alongside highly rated Dutch youngster Max Verstappen, or go for someone outside their ‘family’ of drivers.
Verstappen has eclipsed Albon, sixth on Sunday, and Red Bull need two drivers who are much closer in performance if they are to mount a serious title challenge to Mercedes in 2021.
Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer also backed Perez to stay in F1.
“He absolutely deserves to be in Formula One. He did a great job today, he’s done a great job all season,” said the American. “He definitely deserves a place on the grid.”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell
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