Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez’s rivalry likened to Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg retired from Formula 1 shortly after beating Lewis Hamilton to the 2016 Drivers' Championship.

Sergio Perez has shifted into a higher gear this season. The Mexican has two race wins under his belt from a possible five and looks in fine fettle to compete with teammate Max Verstappen for the title.

When speaking on the broadcasters’ podcast, Sky Sports F1 pundit Natalie Pinkham shared her thoughts:

“I believe [Perez] has stepped it up, I don’t believe it will be enough. This car does seem better suited to him and I think Saturday (in Miami) was a surprise for him that he was on pole.

“I think it’s going to be very frustrating for Sergio because he has to be at his very best week in, week out. Whereas Max, even an A- is enough for Max to win a race.

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“It reminds me a lot of Rosberg and Lewis, I think he’s going to have to find something else. He is going to have to find a weakness in Max that he can exploit in order to beat him. Max is very much in the driving seat.

“There’s no shame in that though. Rosberg, fair play to him, worked very hard, which is one of the reasons why he retired. It took so much out of him to win that one world championship and if Perez can take the world title then you know he’ll have earned it.”

If Perez continues to push Verstappen to the limit, then things between the pair may boil over.

Friends turned foes

The story of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg is indeed an interesting one. A pair once inseparable turned into bitter rivals as competition for the 2014 F1 title intensified.

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Both drivers raced for Mercedes and the world championship in their four-year tenure. Hamilton won two titles during their partnership, with Rosberg retiring after his one and only title-winning season.

The pair endured on-track collisions starting in Belgium in 2014, and matters worsened off the track.

Hamilton and Rosberg broke rules and regulations, aiming to outperform and outmanoeuvre, desperate to get the upper hand. Post-race ceremonies resulted in muted celebrations and handshakes were out of the question.

Whether or not Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen will come to such enmity remains to be seen. One thing is for certain, both drivers will take the fight all the way.