Max Verstappen issues warning to Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez
Max Verstappen fires warning to Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez.
Max Verstappen looks to have issued a warning to his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez whilst aiming a dig at Sir Lewis Hamilton’s former Mercedes partner Valtteri Bottas.
Verstappen, who won the title with ease in 2022, is presently taking advantage of the Formula 1 off-season as a two-time world champion.
Despite the 25-year-treatment old’s of teammate Perez at the penultimate race in Brazil back in November, it was a tremendously dominant year for him.
Red Bull had assured Perez that the Dutchman would let him past if he was unable to overtake anyone but had asked Perez to allow Verstappen to pass in an effort to overtake cars ahead and salvage some points.
Verstappen, who had already won the title at this stage, was supposed to give the position back after failing to make a pass but refused, yelling angrily at his team over the radio.
The two drivers were called to a meeting with Red Bull’s leadership to resolve the conflict, and team principal Christian Horner later said it was “water under the bridge” after Perez reciprocated.
But rumours suggest that tensions between the pair are still very high, and could escalate next season should similar incidents occur.
- Red Bull driver Sergio Perez criticizes teammate Max Verstappen.
- Max Verstappen Wins The World Champion At the Japanese Grand Prix
- Max Verstappen set new F1 record with a dominant win at Mexican Grand Prix
— Formula 1 (@F1) November 13, 2022
Verstappen’s recent remarks about the role No.2 drivers like Perez play in Formula 1—in which he also took aim at Bottas for failing to challenge Hamilton while working for Mercedes from 2017 through 2021—will not help the situation.
‘Every year he [Bottas] starts fresh,’ Verstappen told Viaplay.
‘But after a few races you realise it’s not going to happen again and you accept your role. He still finished on podiums, he won a few races and took pole positions.
‘You just have to accept that the driver next to you is just a bit better. That’s fine, that can happen. It’s important that he accepted it. Some drivers can’t do that and then it goes completely wrong.
‘Then they don’t survive for very long. I’m not going to name names, but you have to accept your role. You can’t live in a fairytale world.’
At Mercedes, Bottas and Hamilton forged a strong connection that saw the latter win four titles in their five years of competition. However, Bottas has since acknowledged that it was challenging to concede defeat to his colleague.
While there is no question that Verstappen is Red Bull’s No.1 driver, Perez has played a crucial role in his teammate’s and team’s success over the past two seasons and has been rewarded with a contract until 2024.
However, given Verstappen’s influence, there is always a chance that, should he develop a dislike for his teammate, he may ask Perez to quit the squad.
While Red Bull would prefer to avoid another toxic inter-team rivalry, like that of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber from 2009 to 2013, they do have a great replacement lined up in case, after former star Daniel Ricciardo rejoined the team as a reserve driver for 2023.