Verstappen and Perez reveal if they are ‘still going to be in love’ if title fight escalates

Championship leader Max Verstappen leads third-placed Sergio Perez by 15 points.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has affirmed that nothing that takes place on track between himself and Sergio Perez will have an impact over their relationship away from the circuit.

Perez announced himself as a title contender in Monaco when he out-qualified Verstappen for the second time this season and went on to take victory ahead of the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz.

Verstappen managed third at the end of what had been a difficult weekend for the 24-year-old, and the other Ferrari of Charles Leclerc was put down to fourth as a result of strategic errors by the team.

READ: Hamilton insists he wasn’t frustrated by Alonso being tactically slow

The result leaves just 15 points covering the top three in the Driver’ Standings, but Verstappen dismisses the notion that a championship rivalry with his team-mate should inform how they approach each other away from the circuit.

“I don’t think so, in terms of whether the relationship will change,” he said during the press conference after the race. 

“We are still going to be in love, right?” was the cheeky response from the Mexican.

Red Bull chief strategist Hannah Schmitz made the decision to put Perez and then Verstappen onto Inters after the wet start to the race, before timing their transition onto Hards perfectly as Perez jumped both Ferraris to take the lead.

Verstappen was visibly ecstatic for his team-mate after the race, so the dynamic at the Milton Keynes-based team is fantastic at present.

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“We work really well as a team,” he explained.

“We always try to optimise the car and work for the team and we can accept when somebody does a good job or does a better job, and I think that’s very important, because that’s how you are respectful to each other.

“May the best man win at the end, right?

“We are always, of course, trying to do the best we can on the track, but we also respect each other a lot and try to score the most possible points every single weekend for the team.”

The reigning champion took a while last weekend to settle into a rhythm and, when he did, he was denied a place on the front row when Perez crashed at the end of qualifying, bringing out the red flag.

Nonetheless, the pair achieved a terrific result on Sunday in tricky conditions.

“I did the best I could, of course, after yesterday, we did a really good job with the strategy to basically get ahead of the Ferraris,” added Verstappen.

“I think as a whole team, we can be very pleased with the Sunday.

READ: Marko pinpoints key to Perez’s Monaco win and Verstappen triumphing over Leclerc

“It was a very hectic one with the rain and stuff, but I think we executed it well and I extended my points lead, which I didn’t expect last night, so I think that’s a positive.

“It was tough, especially when it’s wet and you haven’t really driven around with the weather and the tyres, of course. It was very slippery.

“It’s an amazing result for Checo, I am so happy for him.”

Leclerc cut an immensely frustrated figure after the race in the Principality, affirming that the Scuderia are making “too many mistakes” at present.

Ferrari have fallen 36 points behind Red Bull in the Constructors’ Championship after their latest rough day at the office.