“What’s in it for Perez to help?” - Fresh friction despite Red Bull dominance?

Sky Sports commentator David Croft believes all is not well at Red Bull between Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez despite the team’s dominant start to the 2023 F1 season. 
(L to R): Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bul
(L to R): Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bul

Perez kept recovering teammate Verstappen at bay in another easy Red Bull one-two at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, but tension appeared to rise within the team. 

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With both drivers reporting reliability concerns in the final stint, Perez and Verstappen were told to manage their pace to the end and run to a 1m33s target lap time.

Perez was irked by the “different information” he received after learning to his surprise that Verstappen had snatched the fastest lap bonus point on the final tour to maintain his championship lead by a point.

And Croft, who reckons the early friction is a sign of things to come, has predicted a “few banana skins down the road” for Red Bull. 

”I am not quite sure everything is how Christian Horner would like it and how the team would like it for a smooth domination,” Croft told the Sky Sports F1 podcast. 

"They are dominating Formula 1 on the track but they came very close to not having that one-two in Bahrain and had issues [in the race in Saudi Arabia].

"In the cooldown room after the race, there was still friction between the two drivers. Checo [Perez] was not a happy man at being asked to do target lap times that were slower than his team-mate.

"Perez is in the last year of his deal and if there are no signs of another deal coming, what's in it for Sergio to help his team-mate in the way Red Bull would like? I think there are a few banana skins down the road.”

Race winner Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing celebrates with the team in parc ferme. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 2,
Race winner Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing celebrates with the team in…

Red Bull have already tried to defuse underlying tension between Verstappen and Perez following a team orders row towards the end of last season. 

Croft also noted how Jos Verstappen, Max’s father, and manager Raymond Vermeulen were caught on camera awkwardly refusing to join in with Perez’s victory celebrations in Jeddah. 

"As for Max's dad, all is clearly not well in Jos Verstappen's mind when his son finishes and leads the world championship, yet he can barely break a smile!” Croft added. 

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