Max Verstappen wants to ‘pressure’ Red Bull to stop Sergio Perez title fight

Sergio Perez's contract expires at the end of 2024, whilst Max Verstappen's Red Bull deal runs out in 2028.

1996 Formula 1 World Champion Damon Hill believes a title fight between Red Bull duo Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez would be “quite interesting”, with the pair having claimed a victory each so far this season.

Whilst it was the reigning World Champion who was victorious in Bahrain, Pérez was the king of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit on Sunday, to claim his fifth F1 victory.

His victory ensured that just one-point separates himself and Verstappen in the Drivers’ Championship, with the Dutchman narrowly having the edge ahead of next weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.

The Mexican is clearly a threat to Verstappen this season and has started 2023 emphatically, with Hill believing that Checo won’t “go down without a fight”.

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“Checo knows what he’s up against, but he’s not going to go down without a fight. It could be quite interesting,” said Hill, as reported by

Should Checo maintain his strong start to the season in the next few rounds, Hill believes that Verstappen might start “pulling out the card” to Red Bull that he’s their “future”, instead of giving the Mexican an equal chance of the title.

Given his age and that he only has until the end of 2024 left on his contract, Pérez likely won’t read too much into any situation should he be asked not to battle his team-mate, given that he has nothing to lose.

“I think the problem that you have is that Max is a bit of a force of nature, and it’s how much pressure he can put on the team to make sure his championship aspirations are not interfered with by Checo,” said Hill.

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“From the point of view of the sport, I think that they need to let Checo have every opportunity to fight with a level playing field within that team. Because I know the pressure from the Verstappens, his dad as well, on Red Bull will be intense.

“He’ll be pulling out the card of saying, ‘I’m your future. The whole opportunity is built around me’ and he’ll be leveraging them.”

Hill went on to praise Pérez’s sheer grit and determination, with the 33-year-old having been the first team-mate of Verstappen’s to really take the fight to him.

Red Bull drivers in the past have been “intimidated” by Verstappen and have ultimately gone on to get dropped by the team, unlie Pérez who’s learnt to thrive in the “tough environment”.

“We’ve seen young guys go there and find themselves without friends and they can be intimidated, and they’ve had to go elsewhere, like Gasly and Albon,” Hill added.

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“You could even say Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo have experienced that. It’s a tough environment, Red Bull. They don’t put their arm around you and go, ‘we’ll look after you, don’t worry’.

“Checo has got people in his corner and we’ll see how it plays out.

“Whatever happens, the Verstappens won’t be taking it lying down. You saw after Saudi Arabia that Max was… I would say sulking is not too strong a word. He looked very unhappy about the way things went. They don’t like coming second.”