Max Verstappen fires ‘fairytale’ dig at Sergio Perez’s ability

Sergio Perez has admitted that he is hoping to challenge Max Verstappen for the 2023 title, rather than wing-manning him once more.

Sergio Perez is arguably one of the best teammates of all time, with a good portion of Max Verstappen’s 2021 title victory being down to the selflessness and teamwork of his teammate.

Over the past two seasons Perez has often sacrificed his own race to hold up the likes of Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton, while never defending against his teammate as to not cost the Dutchman time.

After slowly by surely improving and become more accustomed to Red Bull during his two years with the team, the Mexican has claimed that he finally feels ready to challenge his teammate for the title in 2023, despite Helmut Marko suggesting otherwise.

Verstappen has now fired a subtle dig in the direction of his teammate, hinting that the 32-year-old should stick to his role as wingman, rather than trying to challenge for the title.

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“I’m not going to name names, but you have to accept your role,” said the Dutchman.

“Some drivers can’t do that and then things go completely wrong. Then they won’t last long.

“You can’t live in a fairytale world. Every year you start over, but after a few races you realise it won’t happen again and you accept your role.”

The 25-year-old has hinted that Perez should be more like Valtteri Bottas, who was happy to settle for second place and help Lewis Hamilton during his time with Mercedes, simply realising that he did not have the capability to beat the seven-time world champion.

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“He [Bottas] still finished on the podium, he won a few races and took pole positions. But you just have to accept that the driver next to you is slightly better,” he explained.

“That’s fine, that can happen.”

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Perez will be slightly concerned about his position at Red Bull, knowing that should his relationship with his teammate break down, Daniel Ricciardo is waiting in the wings to replace him, while the energy drink giants also reportedly continue to eye up Lando Norris.

There is clearly tension in the Red Bull camp, allegedly dating back to the red flag caused by Sergio Perez at the Monaco Grand Prix, meaning that should the Mexican find himself wheel to wheel with his teammate in 2023, things could get fiery between the two drivers.

Perez himself has said that he is not worried about his place at Red Bull, but deep down he will be aware that he is definitely a much more replaceable asset for the team than two-time world champion Max Verstappen.