Sergio Perez jokes Formula 1 bosses will make the drivers wrestle each other

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez has criticised the FIA after it revamped the sprint race format in a bid to offer more excitement for fans.

The revamped race weekend at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix has received mixed reactions from drivers across the grid, with some welcoming the move and others being more critical.

The new set up saw practice reduced to a one hour session before drivers competed in qualifying for Sunday’s Grand Prix.

Instead of having a practice session on the Saturday, the whole day was dedicated to the sprint format, with a shootout to set the grid in the morning and the 17-lap race in the afternoon.

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez is among those who is concerned about the direction the FIA is taking, joking that officials will make the drivers fight to entertain the fans next.

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“It was fast and furious,” Perez said discussing the new format

“It won’t be long before they put a [wrestling] ring in the middle of the track and get all the drivers in a fight. It was enjoyable though.”

Despite his views on the new format, Perez has enjoyed a successful weekend around Baku, winning the sprint race after qualifying in P2.

The Mexican will be hoping for a similarly strong performance in Sunday’s Grand Prix, lining up in P3 behind his teammate and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

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With the Drivers’ title race a close battle between Perez and Verstappen, the Mexican will be keen to finish ahead of the Dutchman, cutting his teammate’s 13 point lead.

Verstappen, on the other hand, will be determined to make amends for Saturday’s race, which saw him make contact with George Russell early on, causing damage to the RB19 and making it impossible for him to pass Leclerc.

Ahead of the feature race on Sunday, Red Bull hold a clear 68 point lead as a team over their nearest rivals Aston Martin, having secured every P1 finish of the season so far.