Sergio Perez warned he must continue to help Max Verstappen despite tensions

Sergio Perez has been warned Red Bull will fire him if he refuses to help Max Verstappen after their recent disagreement.

Ex-Formula 1 driver Jolyon Palmer believes Sergio Pérez has “no choice” but to “stay in favour with Red Bull”, even if team-mate Max Verstappen refuses to help out the Mexican like he did in Brazil last season.

There is no doubt that Pérez has been an exceptional team-mate to Verstappen and an excellent driver for Red Bull, with the 33-year-old having obeyed every instruction from the Milton Keynes-based side.

Checo famously held up Lewis Hamilton twice during 2021 at the Turkish Grand Prix and in the season finale, all in a bid to support his Dutch team-mate.

Even last season, Pérez gave the race lead to Verstappen in Spain and Azerbaijan, taking victory away from him.

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Despite this, the sole time that Verstappen was asked to allow Pérez past, he disobeyed the team and finished ahead of the Mexican.

This is something that Checo understandably won’t be able to forget, with some suggesting that he might think twice in the future when given an instruction by Red Bull.

Palmer, though, doesn’t think Pérez is in a position where he can ignore instructions, given that Red Bull have a ruthless tendency to sack drivers who don’t perform as expected.

“The logic would have been maybe he wouldn’t after the Brazil thing where Max didn’t help Checo get second in the championship last year which is what Checo was fighting for,” said Palmer.

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“The logic would say maybe he would be more hesitant, He did such a job in Abu Dhabi and Turkey [in 2021]. Some of those defensive lunges back on Hamilton, it clinched the title for Max. Particularly in Abu Dhabi holding him back for a whole lap and a bit.

“So he really did a huge job in those crucial moments so the logic now would say maybe he wouldn’t if he feels the favour has not been returned. But he has to, to stay in favour with Red Bull. He’s got no [choice]. If he doesn’t do that they will hoick him out for someone who will be a bit more compliant.”

With that in mind, it appears that Pérez will have to remain “compliant” and support Verstappen whenever instructed to do so, with Palmer also noting that the Mexican has two drivers who could easily replace him.

Daniel Ricciardo is somebody who Red Bull know incredibly well and could perhaps be used should Pérez defy the Austrians, whilst AlphaTauri rookie Nyck de Vries is another option.

“There’s not just Daniel. There’s maybe Nyck de Vries now at AlphaTauri,” Palmer continued.

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“That’s the classic way to get into Red Bull through AlphaTauri. Good performance and then get the climb up.

“There’s going to be pressure on Checo but I think whilst Red Bull are winning, they won the Constructors with ease, they won the Drivers’ with ease.

“As long as they have a harmonious relationship it’s a bit like keeping Valtteri Bottas in a Mercedes at this point, there’s a bit of a gap between the two drivers but if you’re winning it’s pretty much okay.”