Sergio Perez will be left wondering “what if” this season, after the Mexican missed out on second place in the drivers’ championship to Charles Leclerc in Abu Dhabi last weekend.
The two drivers went into the final race of the season level on points, meaning that the Monegasque driver’s P2 finish, better than Perez’s P3, saw him snatch second place.
It could all have been different however as the Mexican had the chance to go to the Yas Marina circuit ahead of Leclerc, should his teammate had done him a favour at Interlagos the week before.
With nothing left for Verstappen to fight for, the Dutchman was asked to let his teammate overtake him for the extra championship points, however he refused in explosive fashion, telling his team to never ask him to do something like that again, claiming that they know his reasoning.
Perez’s father Antonio has now weighed in on the argument, suggesting that the two-time world champion is beginning to feel the pressure from his teammate, who unlike those before him is proving to be a genuine competitor to the 25-year-old.
“Today Max already feels the breath of Checo in his helmet because of what his is demonstrating,” he claimed.
“He had never had a similar partner, the others were much inferior. Checo wins the races that Max cannot, the truly difficult ones. I find it incredible that they defend [Perez], that is the greatest satisfaction.”
Sergio Perez’s father is referring to his son’s ability to win some of the most difficult races om the calendar, becoming somewhat of street circuit specialist following wins in Baku, Monaco and Singapore during his two year spell at Red Bull.
The win in Monaco is actually alleged to be the cause of Verstappen’s annoyance, with Perez recently being accused of causing a red flag in qualifying on purpose, in order to secure the pole position from which he eventually won the race.
Perez is under contract at Red Bull until the end of 2024, however F1 legend Jacques Villeneuve has told Antonio Perez to stay out of his son’s arguments, with many drivers after the second Red Bull seat.
Daniel Ricciardo will be spending a year with the team as he looks for a return to the grid, while AlphaTauri are always providing opportunities for young drivers from the Red Bull program to impress in the hopes of a move to the senior team.