Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez know it will be good news for Red Bull if the F1 2023 is a title fight between the two drivers.
With the way it has been so far in the F1 2023 season, it is likely to be a fight for the drivers’ championship within Red Bull unless anyone from Ferrari or Aston Martin can mount a challenge, which seems unlikely considering the pace difference.
Even though there are 21 events still remaining in 2023, Red Bull already had a good advantage both in drivers’ and constructors’ standings. Even with the results from Fernando Alonso, it is not enough at the moment to stop the charge.
While both Verstappen and Perez kind of agree that it will be good news that Red Bull drivers are fighting for the F1 title since it will secure a 1-2, but back of the mind, both are already thinking of the possibility of things going a bit awry between them.
The last time teammates went head-to-head when things got heated was in 2016 between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. For Red Bull, it isn’t a new territory as they are famous for the heated rivalry between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.
Even Daniel Ricciardo and Verstappen had their share of downs. The games have already begun at Red Bull as Saudi Arabia showed glimpses of it. Perez got the upperhand overall but the Dutchman didn’t deter from throwing his side of statement too.
Not only he climbed up to second from 15th, he took the fastest lap away from Perez on the final lap which meant Verstappen retained his points lead in drivers’ standings. The Dutchman, in fact, highlighted too that if it comes down to two, he has to be ahead.
“If that’s the case it’s fairly simple, right? We are allowed to race so the best one will finish in front,” said Verstappen, when asked if the title fight is between teammates. He even pressed on the team to better the reliability because that could hamper his chances.
“Of course, I recovered to second in Saudi Arabia, which is good and of course in general, the whole feeling in the team, everyone is happy but personally, I’m not happy. Because I’m not here to be second, especially when you are working very hard also back at the factory to make sure that you arrive here in a good state, and basically making sure that everything is spot on.
“And then yeah, you have to do a recovery race, which I like – I mean, I don’t mind doing it – but when you’re fighting for a Championship and especially, when it looks like it’s just between two cars, we have to make sure that also the two cars are reliable,” summed up Verstappen, as Perez highlighted the good news part but also showed in the race that he has it on his mind too.
Knowing that Verstappen has that raw pace and the natural ability to fight his way through, Perez will need to dig deep to beat him much like how Rosberg went the extra mile to get to Hamilton, showcasing how difficult it is to beat the F1 champions when the car is there to win world championships.
“If that’s the case, then it will be fantastic news for the team, because that means that we are pretty far ahead and it comes down to us so it will mean that we are in a great position,” said Perez, who will have his first proper chance to be in a F1 title fight in straight fight after last year saw Ferrari in the mix too.
Here’s Daniel Ricciardo on his goals
Here’s Max Verstappen not happy with P2 finish
Here’s Sergio Perez on wanting a review
Here’s Lewis Hamilton, George Russell on Red Bull pace