Max Verstappen reveals why he has a better relationship with Sergio Perez than Daniel Ricciardo

Sergio Perez has won two races since he joined Red Bull at the start of 2021.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen believes his relationship with Sergio Perez is the best he has had with a team-mate since his arrival into Formula 1.

Verstappen arrived at Red Bull in 2016 to partner Daniel Ricciardo having spent the 2015 season and the opening four rounds of 2016 at Toro Rosso alongside Carlos Sainz.

The Dutchman struck up a fantastic relationship with Ricciardo, and the pair gave fans some of the funniest and most entertaining off-track moments in recent memory.

Since then, the reigning champion has partnered Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon – both of whom had short stints at the team – before Perez arrived ahead of the 2021 season.

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It might be a bold claim to say that his friendship with the 32-year-old is better than what he had with Ricciardo, but Verstappen explained that the fact that he is older and more mature makes it easier for him to hold and enjoy a good relationship with other drivers.

“I started of course very young in Formula 1 and I had, I think, also a very good relationship with Daniel,” he said.

“But at the time I was still only 18, 19, and I think where I am now as a person is completely different.

“So I would say that what I have now with Checo is definitely the best, just because I matured a lot, and I think that also helps a lot with just how you approach each other.”

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As for Perez, he started his career in 2011 with Sauber alongside Kamui Kobayashi, before moving to McLaren in 2013, where Jenson Button was the team leader after Sir Lewis Hamilton’s departure for Mercedes.

The Mexican spent three years partnering Nico Hulkenberg at Force India after his time with McLaren was cut short, and his two seasons with Esteban Ocon were uncomfortable at best.

Lance Stroll arrived ahead of the 2019 season after his father, Lawrence, had bought the team midway through 2018 and renamed it Racing Point, and the now three-time race winner got his move to the Milton Keynes side after winning the Sakhir Grand Prix in 2020.

Perez has beaten all but two of his team-mates over the course of a championship season – only losing to world champions Button and Verstappen – and he recalled that he has experienced some “jealousy” when he has beaten other drivers in the same machinery in the past.

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“I think sometimes in the past I’ve had some jealousy from a team-mate,” he told LadBibleTV.

“Because you obviously want to win, but when the guy next to you wins you have to give the credit.

“He’s done better than you, he’s won and you have to accept that and also feel proud of what he’s done, the guy next to you, and I think not many people can take it.”

However, Verstappen is the first to congratulate Perez when he beats him, so the relationship between the pair is better than some of the partnerships Perez has had in the past.

“But I think within us, when I win, when Max wins, there is always… we feel proud of each other and that’s something good within us,” he explained.

Between them, Verstappen and Perez have won seven races in 2022, and Red Bull are 56 points clear of Ferrari in the Constructors’ Standings, while the reigning champion leads Charles Leclerc by 38 points in the drivers’ battle.