Sainz joined F1 through the Red Bull driver programme when he joined Toro Rosso alongside teammate Max Verstappen in 2015. Since then, Verstappen has moved up to Red Bull and became world champion with the team, while at the same time Sainz moved to Ferrari to compete head-on with the Belgian driver after some time at Renault and McLaren.
Clarkson believes it’s the right time for Pierre to make a move away from Red Bull, and has advised a move to McLaren after it’s been rumoured that Daniel Ricciardo could be leaving after poor performance.
“Pierre needs to do a Carlos Sainz,” Clarkson noted on the F1 Nation podcast.
“He needs to leave the Red Bull family to progress his Formula One career. And I think for him McLaren would be a very good shout.”
Damon Hill, 1996 F1 world champion, continued: “Well he definitely can’t go up to the big team now, because it’s a lockout unless Max leaves.”
With Perez struggling to get the hang of his car last year similar to Ricciardo in his McLaren, he’s now doing much better, which has left Ricciardo in a sticky situation. Perez is now tailing Verstappen, whereas Ricciardo is far from the rear wing of his teammate Lando Norris’ car.
“I don’t think Checo Perez’s performances this year have helped Daniel,” Clarkson said.
“I think he and Daniel had very similar seasons last year, in terms of getting used to their new teams, getting used to their new cars. Checo has then taken a big step forward this year.”