‘Fireworks’ predicted as Sergio Perez mounts Max Verstappen challenge

Red Bull have secured victory in all three races of the season, with Max Verstappen securing P1 twice and Sergio Perez cruising to the chequered flag in Saudi Arabia.

Red Bull have made clear that they are the team to beat in 2023, as they look to cement their dominance over the rest of the field.

With the pace of the Red Bulls almost unbeatable, it appears that the Drivers’ Championship will be a two horse race between Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

Red Bull secured back-to-back one-two finishes in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, with the team on course for a third in Australia.

However, reliability issues meant that Perez had to start the race from the pit lane, putting him at the back of the pack before the race had even begun.

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Despite this challenge, Perez managed to race through the field to secure P5 by the end of the race, as Verstappen won his 37th Grand Prix.

The rivalry between the two was on display in Saudi Arabia where Perez had looked to lead the Drivers’ Championship for the first time in his Formula 1 career.

However, seemingly against team orders, Verstappen pushed hard in the final lap to steal the fastest lap point from Perez as he crossed the finish line.

Victory in the Drivers’ Championship is likely to be decided by small margins, such as fastest lap points, if the two drivers remain locked in a close battle throughout the season.

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Reliability concerns could also play a part in decided who wins the title, with one DNF during a race potentially flipping the entire fight on its head.

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In a poll conducted by Express Sport, 58% said that they don’t believe Perez has a serious chance at stopping Verstappen claiming a third world championship, while 73% predicted fireworks between the two later in the season. 

Heading to Azerbaijan in a few weeks, Verstappen has a narrow lead of 15 points, with 69 to his teammate’s 54.

The lead in the Constructors’ fight is much more dominant, as Red Bull sit almost 60 points clear of their nearest rival Aston Martin.