Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez fire warning at 2023 Miami GP

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez already have a significant advantage in the Drivers' Championship after just four rounds.

Reigning Formula 1 World Champion Max Verstappen and his teammate Sergio Perez believe that overtaking will become harder as the season goes on, with teams adapting their cars to the new era of regulations.

The 2022 season saw a new slate of regulations come into effect with a view to making wheel-to-wheel action more exciting, through closer battles and more overtaking.

The FIA’s confidence that the regulations are working saw them shorten the DRS zone in Baku over concerns it was now too easy to overtake.

However, the track change left a long DRS train in its wake, as drivers struggled to pass one another, with Esteban Ocon even holding on to his place despite a 51 lap stint on the hard tyres.

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The only team that seemed capable of easy overtakes during the race was Red Bull, as both Verstappen and Perez breezed past Charles Leclerc during the Grand Prix.

The limited action in Baku left fans and drivers feeling bored by the weekends despite a new format being introduced to provide more competitive action across the three day event.

“I feel this year certainly has become a little bit harder,” Perez said.

“These cars are generating a bit more downforce and by generating that little more downforce, the car behind struggles a little bit more to follow.

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“So, in my opinion, it wasn’t the right thing to shorten up the DRS, because it’s getting harder to overtake than last year already in itself so it’s something we should review.”

Verstappen, who had a frustrating weekend, watching his teammate claim two victories and close the gap in the title race to just six points, was similarly critical of the lack of overtaking opportunities.

“Yeah, like Checo said, I think the more downforce we generate – and that, of course, will always be every year – if you keep the rules the same it will be harder to pass,” Verstappen said.

“Because of the weight of the cars we have nowadays, because they’re quite heavy, in the low speed it’s a bit harder to follow.

“As soon as you have a tiny moment with that weight, it becomes a bigger slide, it’s harder on the tyres so you overheat the tyres more.

“And also with these new type of cars, you have to run them super stiff whereas I remember like 2015 or ‘16, you could sometimes [take] a few different lines, you could run a kerb because the cars were quite – well, not soft – but it’s still a lot softer than what we run now.

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“And you could do a few different kinds of techniques and lines but that is really, really hard nowadays because the cars just don’t allow it.”

While Red Bull, as a team, is running away in the Constructors’ race with an almost 100 point lead to its nearest rival Aston Martin, the Drivers’ championship is much closer.

Verstappen is still in the lead but Perez is close behind, with the pair having had two Grand Prix victories each this season.