Max Verstappen breaks silence on him ‘forcing’ Sergio Perez out of Red Bull

Red Bull’s driver pairing came to blows in Brazil following Max Verstappen’s refusal to follow team orders.

The future at Red Bull is up in the air at the moment, with a cost cap penalty to deal with next season and a driver pairing of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez which is tense at best.

Verstappen sensationally refused to follow team orders in Brazil, after Red Bull asked him to allow his teammate to pass him on the final lap of the race so the Mexican could secure and extra couple of points in the drivers’ championship.

The points would have crucial to Perez in his battle for second place with Charles Leclerc, in which he eventually fell short, while to already champion Verstappen, they meant nothing.

Verstappen claimed that the team know his reasons for his refusal, leading some to speculate that his relationship with Perez has reached breaking point.

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Recent links to Lando Norris and the return of Daniel Ricciardo to the team have made people question Perez’s long term future at Red Bull, but Verstappen has denied trying to force his teammate out.

“Our relationship is good,” claimed the Dutchman.

“It is actually the way it has always been.

“I always work with GP [Gianpiero Lambiase] on a setup and it’s usually taken by the other side of the garage. Nothing is said but that’s okay in a team, both cars must be good. 

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“I never hold anything back.”

Ricciardo is on the hunt for a return to the grid with a top team in 2024, but Christian Horner has been quick to shut down rumours that the Australian will step into Perez’s race seat in for 2024.

“Daniel’s contract is very specific for a reason,” stated Horner when quizzed about Ricciardo’s return to Red Bull.

“We have a contract with Checo for the next two years and he has made a good step this year.

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“They’ve both done a phenomenal job for the team and we have no reason to believe that will change for the duration of their contractual commitment to the team.”

Perez has suggested that after two years as Verstappen’s teammate, 2023 will be the year that he finally feels capable of challenging the 25-year-old for the championship, after settling in to the team and the car.

Helmut Marko has rejected Perez’s claims, telling reporters that no one other than Lewis Hamilton or Charles Leclerc are capable of challenging the two-time world champion for next year’s title.