Sergio Perez warns Max Verstappen he might not provide ‘support’

Max Verstappen defied team orders and refused to give sixth place to Sergio Pérez at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Sergio Pérez has warned double World Champion Max Verstappen to offer him support in the forthcoming 2023 season, with the Mexican having revealed that he won’t “give” the Dutchman a hand if he doesn’t receive help himself.

Pérez was a superb team-mate last season, with the Mexican having followed Red Bull’s orders perfectly, unlike Verstappen.

The 33-year-old relinquished the race lead to Verstappen at both the Spanish and Azerbaijan Grand Prix last year, whilst the Dutchman refused to give Pérez sixth place on the final lap in Brazil.

Verstappen’s refusal to give Pérez P6 on the final lap of the Brazilian Grand Prix caused a post-race storm, resulting in a headache for Red Bull.

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Team principal Christian Horner did reveal that the duo sat down and sorted their issues following the race; however, it was the first glimpse of a potential chink in Red Bull’s armour.

A team-mate rivalry is certainly not what the Milton Keynes-based side need this season, especially given that they are attempting to defend their Constructors’ Championship.

The likelihood is, though, that further issues will only arise if Verstappen disobeys the team again, with the chances of Pérez not following team orders being slim.

Pérez recognises that with Mercedes potentially being back in the fight this season, himself and Verstappen must “work as a team”, with 2023 set to be a “very intense season”.

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He isn’t expecting any problems going into this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix and doesn’t expect to not “receive support” from his team, with that perhaps set to be truly answered when Verstappen and Pérez next battle on-track.

“It’s always important to work as a team and obviously if I see that I don’t receive support when I need it, I won’t give it either,” said Perez.

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“That’s obvious, but I don’t expect any of that.

“I think we are very clear about the important thing, it will be a very intense season, surely with six cars fighting for the championship, so it will be very important to work as a team in many races.”

Pérez will be hoping to finish closer to Verstappen this season and perhaps even beat him, but in order to do that he’ll have to start the season exceptionally.