Sergio Perez backed to challenge Max Verstappen for an 'interesting' title fight: "He's not going to go down without a fight"

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)

1996 F1 world champion Damon Hill believes Sergio Perez is gearing up to fight Max Verstappen for the 2023 title. The Mexican driver finished ahead of his teammate in Jeddah, winning the race from the pole position.

Max Verstappen was no slouch at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit. The Dutchman was relegated from qualifying due to a driveshaft issue and started 15th on Sunday.

However, despite his starting position, the two-time world champion stormed through the field to take P2 behind his teammate Perez. Currently, no other team is able to hold a candle up to the Anglo-Austrian outfit.

Hill believes Sergio Perez knows the scale of the task he has in front of him and will not bow down to Verstappen's talent without a fight. He said, as quoted by Autosport:

"Checo knows what he's up against but he's not going to go down without a fight. It could be quite interesting. I think the problem that you have is that Max is a bit of a force of nature, and it's how much pressure he can put on the team to make sure his championship aspirations are not interfered with by Checo,"

It will be interesting to see which of the two Red Bull drivers comes out on top at the end of the year.

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez's relationship a probable concern for Red Bull

Prominent F1 commentator and analyst David Croft feels the relationship between Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez could hinder Red Bull's season. During the Saudi Arabian GP, Perez claimed victory from the pole position and Verstappen made an impressive charge through the ranks to secure second place.

In the first two Grands Prix of the 2023 season, Red Bull dominated with Verstappen winning in Bahrain and coming in second to Perez in Saudi Arabia.

Despite experiencing a driveshaft issue during qualifying and starting the race from 15th place, Verstappen put on an outstanding performance, charging through the field with great skill.

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

"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."

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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