In an eventful Austrian Grand Prix sprint race, Red Bull racers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez nearly collided with each other right at the beginning, but both of them eventually managed to come out on top, displaying the sublime performances of the fierce RB19.
Max started the grid after blazing through the Austrian GP sprint shootout, but his teammate got a better start off the line. The 33-year-old took the lead going into turn 1; however, he had a terrible exit, which allowed Max to catch right up to him.
Perez’s move forces Max Verstappen onto Grass
As they were on their way to turn 3, the two Red Bull teammates came dangerously close to colliding with each other; Max, trying to avoid a collision, backed out and drove his car onto the grass for a split second. The two-time World Champion eventually overtook his teammate in turn 3.
Max Verstappen 🔥 Sergio Perez
🤔Sizce bu olayda hangi pilot haksız?
— Tutkumuz F1 (@F1tutkumuz) July 1, 2023
Sergio Perez opened up to Naomi Schiff in Parc Ferme about his early race scrap with Verstappen:
“We had a good start, then a bit of a fight with Max, and ended up losing a position to Nico. I think Max was angry that I went into turn 2, but I didn’t see him there. I just had a very bad turn 1, so I tried to protect, but once I realized he was there, I opened up the door.”
Max eventually went on to win the sprint, with Sergio finishing second. Red Bull’s chief advisor, Helmut Marko, noticed the drivers’ expressions of anger toward each other after the race and criticized Checo’s initial move.
“Perez had the best start, at that point everything is still fine, but what comes after that, that you push someone else into the grass, especially in wet conditions, is not exactly good teamwork. Everything after the first corner was unnecessary,” Marko told Sky Sports F1.
Great Sprint Race result for @redbullracing as we score maximum points.
I had a good chat with @Max33Verstappen about what happened in the start and everything is ok, always putting the team first.
Tomorrow we will fight right from the start to minimize the damage from Friday.… pic.twitter.com/bbSUtiek95
— Sergio Pérez (@SChecoPerez) July 1, 2023
Is Sergio Perez better than Verstappen?
The two Red Bull drivers stand atop the leaderboard after eight races so far in the current season, with Max claiming victory six times and Sergio winning the Saudi Arabian GP and the Azerbaijan GP. The 33-year-old driver looked superior to his teammate throughout the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, to the point where he forced Verstappen to make an early pit stop.
However, Max has undeniably been the better performer in the long run. Even though he couldn’t finish two races at the top, the current World Champion secured a podium finish in all eight races, compared to Perez’s four.
But, despite accusations of favoritism towards Verstappen in recent years, Red Bull has made it clear that both drivers have an equal chance at winning the championship this year.
Max even went on to highlight how great Sergio Perez has been this season in an interview with ESPN: “Checo this year has really been on it, he’s been really performing well and that’s great to see. He’s feeling more and more confident in the car and for the team as well, we are really enjoying it.”
“And I think Checo and that’s also what is very important: you need to acknowledge and also appreciate when somebody has done a great job.”
How well do you think Sergio Perez will fare against his teammate in the upcoming races? Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments section.