Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez's relationship a cause of probable concern for Red Bull boss: "There was still friction between the two drivers"

F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia
F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia - Race winner Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing and Second placed Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing attend the press conference after the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 19, 2023 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Prominent F1 commentator and analyst David Croft believes Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez's relationship could put a spoke in the wheel for Red Bull's season. Perez won the 2023 Saudi Arabian GP from the pole position while his teammate stormed through the field to take P2.

In the first two Grands Prix of the 2023 season, Red Bull secured a one-two finish with Verstappen taking the win in Bahrain ahead of Perez, and finishing second to the Mexican in Saudi Arabia.

Despite starting the race in 15th place due to a driveshaft problem during qualifying, the Dutchman stormed through the field in stellar fashion.

Max Verstappen expressed his discontent with finishing as a runner-up in Jeddah. Meanwhile, Perez was disappointed about losing the bonus point for the fastest lap to his teammate. There was notable fiction between the two drivers post-race, as noted by Croft.

The commentator believes this tension might foil Red Bull's plans later on in the season. Croft told the Sky Sports F1 podcast about the tension between Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez:

"I am not sure everything is how [Red Bull Team Principal] Christian Horner would like it and how the team would like it for a smooth domination. 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."

Max Verstappen lauded by former Red Bull driver

Former Red Bull driver David Coulthard has commented that Max Verstappen sets himself apart from other drivers through his diligent work ethic and fearless demeanor.

Verstappen, a two-time world champion, kicked off the 2023 F1 season by clinching victory in the first race from the pole position, showcasing his exceptional driving abilities. He placed P2 in the second race of the year in Jeddah, storming through the field despite starting 15th on the grid.

Speaking at the recent Red Bull Showrun event in Mumbai, India, where Sportskeeda was present, 13-time GP winner David Coulthard gave his two cents on what makes Max Verstappen stand out. He said:

''Just because he works so hard. His mother was a cart racer, his father was a Formula One driver. He was not given a route to F1, he had to slot it out."
"Time and again, he has shown that he has a fighting spirit, that he is not frightened by any competitor. His work ethic on the track has given him, along with his natural talent, an edge over his competitors.''

It will be interesting to watch the battle between Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez as the season progresses.

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Edited by Ritwik Kumar
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