Perez ’sure’ Verstappen will help in Brazil
"But Max will do his thing, he won’t give up a win"
Sergio Perez says he’s "sure" teammate Max Verstappen will help him complete Red Bull’s perfect season by hanging onto second overall in 2023.
Team chiefs have vehemently denied that the struggling Mexican has been told that unless he holds off the resurgent Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, he may lose his 2024 seat.
Dr Helmut Marko, indeed, is fully backing Perez for now.
"He himself says that he has a good feeling back in the car again and is fully focused on achieving second place in the world championship," said the 80-year-old.
Marko, though, said Verstappen will not actually move over for Perez to maximise points for the Mexican - just as the Dutchman refused to at Interlagos a year ago.
"Last year it was about fifth and sixth place, so that wouldn’t have made any difference," Marko told Kronen Zeitung newspaper.
"But Max will do his thing. He won’t give up a win."
Triple world champion Verstappen agrees with that.
"I think at the end of the day, it shouldn’t always depend on me, you know, to get the points," said the 26-year-old.
"But I’m confident that Checo can stay ahead, because I do think that we have the faster car.
"Last year, it wasn’t really well spoken about before we got into the race weekend, but let’s just hope that we don’t get into that situation. I think that’s better for everyone."
Perez confirms that the matter hasn’t been talked about ahead of the 2023 edition, either.
"We didn’t talk about it," he said. "But if such a situation arises, I’m sure Max will help me."
However, he hinted that finishing the season with strong form is perhaps more important than anything else.
"If the season ended now, I wouldn’t have a good winter mentally," Perez, 33, told RTBF at Interlagos. "But I still have three opportunities in front of me.
"I really hope to end the season in a more positive way than what I’m experiencing right now."
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