Red Bull accused of giving Sergio Perez initial advantage over Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen completed the entire first day of pre-season testing, during which he covered 157 laps.

With the first day of pre-season testing having been completed at the Bahrain International Circuit, Red Bull have been accused of giving Sergio Pérez the “best of the conditions”, with Max Verstappen having been used on the opening day.

Whilst most teams opted to run both drivers during the opening day of testing, Red Bull opted to give Verstappen the entirety of the first day, with Pérez to be in the car during the morning of the second day of testing and the entirety of the final day.

It meant Verstappen completed his full day in the “worst conditions”, with the circuit having been dusty and dirty.

Pérez won’t have to endure this problem, given that a full day’s worth of rubber will have been laid by the time he gets to drive the RB19.

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Ex-F1 driver Jolyon Palmer puts this down to Verstappen being “confident”, with the Austrians doing what they can to “help” Pérez.

“You have three days and you want to try and split it,” said Palmer following the first day of pre-season testing.

“The first day is the worst day because the track is in its worst condition, the car is probably in its worst condition as well, and Max did the whole day. Checo will get three of the best four sessions out there, which is great news for Checo, obviously it’s not perfect for Max but what it tells me is he’s confident.

“The Red Bull team are backing Checo to try and help him out at this stage, he obviously needs to start this season well with Max romping away with it at the end of last year, and Max is confident. Red Bull are going to give Checo the best of the conditions in the car, interesting. “

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2023 is a big season for Pérez, with the Mexican entering the final two years of his contract.

Regardless of his contract, Red Bull are notoriously a side who will fire a driver should they not deliver results, as was discovered by Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon.

Pérez’s and Verstappen’s relationship is something which will be fascinating to watch this year, given their argument at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

The Mexican driver has been an excellent member of the Austrian outfit and has been told to “stay in favour” with the team and not disobey team-orders, even if his team-mate doesn’t repay future favours.

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“The logic would have been maybe he wouldn’t after the Brazil thing where Max didn’t help Checo get second in the championship last year which is what Checo was fighting for,” Palmer added.

“The logic would say maybe he would be more hesitant, He did such a job in Abu Dhabi and Turkey [in 2021]. Some of those defensive lunges back on Hamilton, it clinched the title for Max. Particularly in Abu Dhabi holding him back for a whole lap and a bit.

“So he really did a huge job in those crucial moments so the logic now would say maybe he wouldn’t if he feels the favour has not been returned. But he has to, to stay in favour with Red Bull. He’s got no [choice]. If he doesn’t do that they will hoick him out for someone who will be a bit more compliant.”