Pérez: “Having Verstappen as a reference, it makes you a better driver”

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Sergio Pérez spoke to the media before the on-track action kicked off at Melbourne in the last Grand Prix weekend in Formula 1 until late April.

Before the race, the Mexican was just one point away from Max Verstappen in the standings, and so the tension that Red Bull has been carrying internally since the late part of 2022 is a topic of conversation yet again, as Pérez seems the only competition that can possibly get in the way of Verstappen’s 3rd WDC.

“We are only on race number three, so there is a long way to go, and it’s better just to be fighting one guy, especially if it’s your teammate, because that means the team is in a unique position,” he said.

Even though the 33-year-old driver made sure to tell the media there’s a lot of respect between himself and the Dutchman, he assured whatever is said inside the team has to be respected by any of the two drivers, of course, regarding team orders too.

“When you are in the fight for the championship, you’ve got to bring your A game every single race, and you have to try everything you possibly can.

“But at the same time, I think it will be very important that we both respect whatever has been told by the team.”

“I’m here to do the best possible thing for myself as well [but] to be honest, we’ve got a lot more respect for each other than people might think out there,” he said.

“Inside it is a great atmosphere with the team, there is a very high level of respect between each other in the team with all the engineers from their side or my side.

“I think we are both mature enough to know what’s right and what’s wrong. As long as that keeps being the case, then I don’t expect anything to change.”

Now, as the championship stands with 15 points between the two Red Bull drivers sitting 1st and 2nd on the drivers’ standings, the Mexican assures fighting for the WDC is not as easy as it seems.

“Of course, if I want to win the championship, I have to beat Max weekend in and weekend out, and keep this level of consistency throughout the season, as it’s all about this season’s consistency, you know. You can win 15 races, but if in the other races, you just crash and have DNFs and so on, it is not enough. It’s just reaching that level of consistency and taking it race by race.”

He didn’t miss the chance to praise the high level of performance shown by the Dutchman.

“There is no doubt that there is no driver on such a form as Max. Together with the team as well with the car he is definitely the hardest driver to beat.

“Having Max as a reference, it makes you a better driver, certainly it takes everything out of you and also with the team, I’m more at one with the car and with the team, and I understand which direction I have to be able to take with the car.

“It will require the maximum out of me to bring my A-game every single weekend.”