Red Bull Racing is currently on a roll after a strong start to the season, finishing first and second in consecutive races. It is self-evident that if they are to be stopped, it will be due to either reliability issues or a challenge from one of their own. Verstappen, who started fifteenth due to a drive shaft issue, reached the second place by lap 25. With a solid performance in Jeddah on Sunday, Max Verstappen ensured the championship lead of a mere one point over teammate Sergio Perez.
Max Verstappen scored the faster lap against the team orders and snatched the extra points from his Mexican teammate. If he had followed the team’s instructions, he and Perez would share the P1 going into Australia. After the race, Sergio Perez demanded a review of team communication as he was denied the opportunity to push when his teammate was having a go at his lap time.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner gave his opinion on Sergio Perez’s concern about the team’s request for him to lap in “target plus 0.4s” during the race, while his teammate was given the green light to push. Horner rebuffed any of Sergio’s apprehensions, stating, “There’s always going to be that when you’re the lead car,” he said. “You always want to know that the tail car has hit the target first. So that’s entirely normal.”
Horner stated that the team was content to let Verstappen compete for the fastest lap at the conclusion of the race because they wanted additional points in any manner possible. He said, “Well, I think we came to the conclusion that, you know what, it’s the last lap. If he’s going to go, he’s going to go. So I think he’d already come to that conclusion himself. Both drivers had the info. Checo had the fastest lap at that point, he asked what it was. He knew that Max was going to have a crack at it. And Checo gave it up after the first couple of turns, he was already a tenth and a half down, and then you saw him back out of it,”.
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Christian Horner reveals the team’s actual concerns during the Jeddah Grand Prix
Christian Horner later emphasized that Verstappen’s troubles with the drive shaft were the team’s prime concern. “I think the biggest point of concern for us during the grand prix was when Max radioed in with about 15 laps to go saying he heard a high-pitched noise at high speed, and so your heart immediately sinks, thinking about the driveshaft failure of yesterday,”.
Red Bull’s dominant start to the season has put them in the driver’s seat for the championship. It is plain that there will be a teammate rivalry in the following races, and it will be interesting to observe how their relationship develops and whether any team can pose a challenge to Red Bull. The relationship among the duo isn’t the same as it used to be when the dutchman won the championship in 2021. The growth of Perez from a supporting driver to a championship contender in 2023 has put Verstappen in an entirely different position, and he might not get the same support he used to have during races.
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