Sergio Perez has once again reconfirmed that his relationship with Max Verstappen is “really good”, despite various reports suggesting otherwise during the recently completed 2023 campaign.
Perez was comfortably beaten by Verstappen in 2023, with the Mexican having claimed just two race wins to the Dutchman’s 19.
Despite having equal-machinery as the three-time World Champion, Perez ended the season a distant 290 points behind.
He has come under significant criticism this year for being so much slower than Verstappen, especially after he started 2023 so strongly.
Perez matched Verstappen in the first four rounds, where they both won two races.
Verstappen has been clear ever since, leading to claims by Perez’s entourage that Red Bull designed the RB19 to suit the Dutch driver, not Checo.
Suggestions of the Austrians designing the car for Verstappen have actually been quashed by Checo and Red Bull’s simulator driver Jake Dennis, who have stressed that it’s not the case at all.
Putting the machinery to the side, Verstappen and Perez do seem to have gotten on better in 2023 than they did in 2022, with the duo having clashed at the Brazilian Grand Prix that year.
At the 2022 Brazilian GP, Verstappen refused to follow team orders and let Perez past, a situation which, thankfully, hasn’t been repeated.
Verstappen actually tried to help Perez finish second in the closing laps of the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix, only for the 33-year-old to be outdone by a smart pass by Charles Leclerc.
Despite this, Perez is pleased with how himself and the Dutch driver are working together, with Checo noting that he has access to the “best” data on the grid.
“I think it’s been a good year, I think our relationship is really good,” Perez told reporters, as per Total-Motorsport.com. “I think when we are in all those briefings through so many races, I think it’s been, it’s been good.
“And we will be pushing at times in different directions, but at the same time, we’ve been strongly asking for the same stuff so that also has been positive for the team.
“Well, I think it’s always been good, this is our third season together, so it’s been good. There are things that you learn from him, I think it’s obviously I have the best reference out there because he’s the one who was so competitive.
“So I think there’s no harm in looking at what he’s doing, how he’s doing it, and try to learn and improve, see what works for you that he’s doing differently to you. I’ve always had a very open approach, and I think it’s something that works well.”