Sergio Perez breaks silence on Jos Verstappen incident

After his race win in Jeddah was tainted by reports of a rift, Sergio Perez has opened up on his relationship with Jos Verstappen.

Red Bull have consistently looked like the most well-oiled team in the Formula 1 paddock in recent years, but many believe cracks have begun to show with Sergio Perez becoming the clear number two driver behind two-time World Drivers’ Champion Max Verstappen.

That appeared to rear its head following Perez’s maiden win of the 2023 season in Jeddah at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, when footage showed Jos Verstappen – father of Max – seemingly failing to extend a handshake to the Mexican as he celebrated with mechanics following the victory.

But Perez has since commented on what happened in Jeddah ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, clearing up suggestions of a supposed rift between himself and the father of his teammate.

Speaking to the PA news agency, Perez explained his relationship with Verstappen: “I have a good relationship with Jos. We respect each other. We know this is sport, and that is how we treat it.”

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He added: “We shook hands but they probably didn’t show that. I saw a few things were written on social media, but sometimes people like to create stories that don’t exist. “

“He wasn’t smiling much but you don’t have to smile every day and all the time.”

Tensions flared as Perez took the chequered flag in Jeddah, with teammate Verstappen unable to close the gap and force himself beyond his teammate for a second win in as many races.

He did, however, defy team orders to steal away the fastest lap at the very end of the race, highlighting the cause for concern in the Red Bull garage.

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And while Perez insists that he has no hard feelings for Jos Verstappen, the former F1 driver seemed to take a jab at the Mexican after his win.

“I don’t think [Perez] gets the chance [to win] often. He sees that too and then goes for it,” he claimed after the race in Jeddah, alluding to Verstappen’s 15th-place starting position.

Perez has remained defiant despite having to continually deal with the fact that Verstappen is Red Bull’s number one driver, but respected his teammate’s abilities.

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“I don’t think there is anyone out there that is perfect,” he said, adding: “We are all human beings and we all have ups-and-downs.

“But there is no other driver in such good form as Max. I am aware of that and that is why I need to bring my A-game every single week.”

After what looked like an ideal working relationship initially, with Perez proving key to Verstappen’s title-winning performance and race victory at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the pair have drifted in the time since, with incidents in Monaco and Brazil standing out last season.

But with Red Bull leading the way in 2023 once again, the pair looked comfortable in FP1 and FP2 ahead of the Australian Grand Prix and have another strong chance of both finishing on the podium come Sunday.