Perez urges Verstappen to respect Red Bull team instructions

Sergio Perez feels he and Max Verstappen should respect all orders from Red Bull

Sergio Perez feels he and Max Verstappen should respect all orders from Red Bull

Sergio Perez firmly believes he is in the fight for this year’s F1 drivers’ title with Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen.

The Mexican driver feels, however, that in order to ensure fairness on both sides moving forward, it is imperative they both comply with whatever instructions are handed down by the team.

Twice in the last four grands prix stretching over the end of last season and into the current campaign, Verstappen has either shown a willing disregard for team orders or outlined that he feels he is in charge.

In the penultimate race of last year in São Paulo, Verstappen blatantly ignored an instruction to allow Perez by despite the 33-year-old seeking the points he required to finish second in the drivers’ standings behind the champion Dutchman.

At the last race in Jeddah, Verstappen was told on several occasions to maintain a certain pace in order to bring his car home behind race-winner Perez. There was no response from the 25-year-old at any time.

When Verstappen finally took to the radio to enquire as to the time of the fastest lap, race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase replied: “We are not concerned about that at the moment Max”, to which he responded: “Yeah, but I am!”

Verstappen duly stole the fastest lap point off Perez on the final lap of the race at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, with that point the only difference between them going into this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne’s Albert Park.

Pointed out to Perez that Verstappen is a driver who does not back off, he said: “When you are in a fight for the championship, you’re going to have to take your A-game to every single race. You have to try everything you possibly can.”

Crucially, he then added: “But at the same time, it will be very important that we both respect whatever we are told by the team.”

Perez confident of equal billing with Verstappen

Perez at least feels, that despite Red Bull long viewed as being Verstappen’s team, he has an equal opportunity to become the champion this year.

“I fully believe,” said Perez. “Certainly, when I came to the team, things were very different. Basically, they were just going racing with two cars because they had to.

“I can say now that I really feel part of the team, that I have my place, I’m well respected, and that’s something good to have as a driver.

“I really believe I have the full support of the team as much as Max does, and that I will have every single opportunity to win the championship as much as Max.”

One of the key reasons for Perez’s confidence this year is that the RB19 is more to his liking, whereas last year, he struggled to get to grips with its predecessor.

Asked of Perez whether he felt this was the big moment of his career to become champion, he replied: “Certainly.

“We have got a very strong car, a very strong package, a car that I feel comfortable with, a car that I’m working well with.

“I also believe, that with the direction of the technical development, I can get the most out of it.

“That’s important to be able to stay in the fight throughout the season, to have a car that you can be competitive with whatever condition you are in.”

Join the discussion below in the comments section

Please note: reserves the right to remove any comment that does not follow the comment policy. For support, contact [email protected]