Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has stressed that Sergio Perez “shouldn’t need” Max Verstappen’s help to claim second in the Drivers’ Championship, and that the Dutchman would never give up a win for the Mexican driver.
It was speculated ahead of last weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix as to whether Verstappen would be prepared to help Perez beat Lewis Hamilton to second in the standings, something he now looks set to do with ease.
Regardless of that, it was stated by Horner that Verstappen is “focused” on continuing his remarkable 2023 campaign and ending the season with as many wins as possible.
Helping Perez hasn’t been Verstappen’s strength in the past, with Horner admitting that the chances of the three-time World Champion giving up a race win for the 33-year-old is “between zero and one”.
Despite this, the Red Bull boss believes Perez won’t need Verstappen’s help anyway.
“Somewhere between zero and one, I would say,” Horner told Sky Sports.
“Checo, I don’t think he’s going to need that help, Max is focused on his thing. He doesn’t want to leave anything on the table. He’s focused on an incredible year that he’s been having, and he just wants to keep winning.
“Checo shouldn’t need that help from Max and we saw that yesterday.”
Perez can seal second in the Drivers’ Championship next weekend at the Las Vegas Grand Prix, as his P4 finish at Interlagos extended his advantage over Hamilton to 32 points.
The Mexican driver performed very well in Brazil and in many ways looked back to his best, whilst he was also massively unfortunate to miss out on a rostrum by a ridiculous 0.053s.
It was Fernando Alonso who denied Perez a podium, in what was a “great fight” right to the end of the race.
The biggest positive for Perez coming out of Brazil was that his pace was strong, with him now thinking that it’s just a “matter of time” until everything falls into place.
“We tried everything, unfortunately, we didn’t succeed on that,” Perez said. “But it was well deserved for Fernando. I think we had a great fight, very fair and to the limit. I think this is something that a lot of drivers can learn from.
“We’ve seen in the last couple of races that the pace has been there. That we’ve been really strong and for some reason or another, we haven’t been able to get the final end result. But I just know it’s a matter of time.”