–by Mark Cipolloni–
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner is predicted to have his hands full if Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez cause increasing friction within the team if the two battle for race wins and the title throughout the 2023 F1 season.
Former F1 driver and now F1 TV pundit, Damon Hill, thinks Sergio Perez “won’t go down without a fight” against Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen after winning his first Formula 1 race of the season in Saudi Arabia.
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 22, 2023
“Checo knows what he’s up against, but he’s not going to go down without a fight. It could be quite interesting,” said 1996 F1 world champion Hill, who is heading to Melbourne as part of the Ten Network’s F1 coverage in Australia.
“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,” said Hill.
“From the point of view of the sport, I think that they need to let Checo have every opportunity to fight with a level playing field within that team. Because I know the pressure from the Verstappens, his dad as well, on Red Bull will be intense.
“He’ll be pulling out the card of saying, ‘I’m your future. The whole opportunity is built around me’ and he’ll be leveraging them.”
“We’ve seen young guys go there and find themselves without friends and they can be intimidated, and they’ve had to go elsewhere, like Gasly and Albon,” Hill added.
“You could even say Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo have experienced that. It’s a tough environment, Red Bull. They don’t put their arm around you and go, ‘we’ll look after you, don’t worry’.
“Checo has got people in his corner and we’ll see how it plays out.
“Whatever happens, the Verstappens won’t be taking it lying down. You saw after Saudi Arabia that Max was… I would say sulking is not too strong a word. He looked very unhappy about the way things went. They don’t like coming second.”