Red Bull warned about Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez ‘explosion’

Tension between Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez has reportedly been growing as the pair remain locked neck and neck in the title race.

The 2023 Drivers’ Championship looks set to be a two horse race between Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, as the pair have finished far ahead of the pack in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Red Bull’s team principal Christian Horner couldn’t have wished for better than back-to-back one-two finishes, netting the team 87 out of a possible 88 points but the success hasn’t been without fears internal division could derail their title efforts.

The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix seemed to leave a sour taste in Perez’s mouth after he was denied the chance to lead the Drivers’ Championship race when Verstappen snatched the fastest lap point as he crossed the finish line.

Verstappen’s charge to the chequered flag seemed to contradict team orders that would’ve let Perez retain the bonus point, with the Mexican calling for an internal review after the race into the apparent miscommunication.

READ: Ferrari boss claims Sergio Perez could ‘easily’ become 100 points ahead of Max Verstappen

Former Formula One driver Marc Surer has warned that the growing “distrust” between the two Red Bull racers could “explode” and hurt the team at some point during the season.

Speaking to, Surer was clear that “it sounds like they really distrust each other,” referring to last season’s incidents in Monaco and Brazil. “That hasn’t gone away – it’s still there.”

In Monaco, Perez crashed during qualifying, allowing the Mexican to remain on pole, while Verstappen was stuck back in fourth place.

READ: FIA quietly removes controversial rule

Article continues below

Months later in Brazil, Verstappen refused to swap places with his teammate, reportedly in retaliation for what he believed was a deliberate attempt in Monaco to deny him a shot at pole. 

“The team downplays it well and the drivers don’t really comment on it either. But it can explode at some point.”

While Verstappen has shown that he clearly has better pace than his teammate, Perez will be hoping to further capitalise on the Dutchman’s reliability problems that hampered his performance in Saudi Arabia.