Max Verstappen is fast building a reputation for being a dominant figure in Formula 1, powering Red Bull to victory in three of the five races this season.
As part of their partnership, Sergio Perez has secured the other victories of the year, helping Red Bull grow a 122 point lead over their nearest rivals.
Most notably, in their pairing, Perez helped Verstappen secure his maiden title by slowing down Lewis Hamilton during the pivotal 2021 title decider.
While he’s often found himself in the role of a supportive teammate at Red Bull, Perez is currently experiencing his best season ever, having taken victory in the Saudi Arabia and both the Sprint and Grand Prix in Azerbaijan.
This strong start has seen Perez push Verstappen for the lead of the Drivers’ title race, currently sitting just 14 points behind his teammate.
With Red Bull’s RB19 clearly far ahead of its rivals, it looks likely that the title race will come down to a battle between the two teammates.
Given Verstappen’s competitive streak, fans have accused the Dutchman of being a bad loser, while others have argued that he wants to replace Perez given the threat the Mexican poses to his title hopes.
Perez has rejected this assessment though during a recent appearance on the Pardon My Take podcast, explaining that Verstappen is “a good loser.”
“He has a fame of [a] bad loser,” he said.
“But honestly whenever I beat him he’s like, he’s really like, ‘Well done’.
“And it’s not very normal in Formula 1 to have that sort of team-mate.
“He really comes and [says], ‘Well done mate’ – and you can see that he feels it.
“I appreciate that.”
The comments are a surprising show of support for Verstappen from Perez given the reported tensions between the pair.
It has been thought that a rift has emerged between the duo after the Monaco GP in 2022, where Perez’s crash during qualifying hurt Verstappen’s chances in the race.
Rumours have been swirling that Verstappen might even be pushing for Perez to be replaced by a less competitive teammate.