With the 0.9s average qualifying gap between the Red Bull pair currently the largest on the entire 2023 grid, Leclerc asserts there are plenty who can’t grasp why Perez continuously drops behind so much.
“I think Max is a great driver, but at the same time, there are many who cannot explain such a wide margin between him and Checo,” Leclerc told the Italian version of Motorsport.com.
“Personally, I think it is impossible to read the situation well from the outside, only inside the team do they know exactly everything.
“At times the margin between Max and Checo was greater than I would have expected, but on the other hand, Verstappen is an incredible driver and it is probably very difficult to be alongside him. But again, I don’t have the full picture of the situation.”
Last time out at the Belgian Grand Prix Perez started four places ahead of Verstappen, who was demoted five places on the grid to sixth for a gearbox penalty.
Although Perez seized the lead on the opening lap, Verstappen breezed by the sister RB19 car after the opening round of pit stops on Lap 17 and went on to record a crushing 22s win in 27 laps.
However, Perez has assured that both drivers are provided with equal equipment, stating claims to the contrary are “crazy”.
“The cars are the same,” the Mexican said via Mundo Deportivo after the Hungarian Grand Prix.
“The team’s interest is to have both cars up there every race. It’s crazy what people are saying outside. There is a lot of speculation.”
Meanwhile, Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko has also quashed any rumours surrounding favouritism towards Verstappen in the Austrian outfit’s ranks.
Marko, who was responsible for bringing Verstappen through the ranks, highlights how last year’s Red Bull didn’t initially suit the Dutchman at the beginning of 2022.
“No, that is not true. At the beginning of 2022 the car suffered a lot of understeer,” Marko underlined to Motorsport Magazin.
“This was due to the car being overweight. In the long run, you will not be successful with an overweight car, but as the car became lighter, the car went more to a ‘neutral’ balance – or even a bit more oversteer.”