Sergio Perez has reflected on his relationship with Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen after finishing runner-up to him in the 2023 Formula 1 season.
The relationship between Perez and Verstappen has seen its ups and downs, with the Mexican’s defensive driving against Lewis Hamilton in the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix helping the Dutchman secure his first world title.
But the pair’s relationship briefly soured following the 2022 Brazilian GP when Verstappen refused to let by Perez for sixth in the final laps, costing him second in the drivers’ championship.
There have been no signs of friction between the teammates in 2023, with Verstappen trying to help Perez secure second at the Las Vegas GP, only for Charles Leclerc to overtake the Red Bull driver.
“I think it’s been a good year, I think our relationship is really good,” Perez explained to the media. “I think when we are in all those briefings through so many races, I think it’s been, it’s been good.
“And we will be pushing at times in different directions, but at the same time, we’ve been strongly asking for the same stuff so that also has been positive for the team.
“Well, I think it’s always been good, this is our third season together, so it’s been good. There are things that you learn from him, I think it’s obviously I have the best reference out there because he’s the one who was so competitive.
“So I think there’s no harm in looking at what he’s doing, how he’s doing it, and try to learn and improve, see what works for you that he’s doing differently to you. I’ve always had a very open approach, and I think it’s something that works well.”
Stronger after bumpy 2023
Despite losing second place to Leclerc at the penultimate corner, Perez finally secured runners-up honours in the drivers’ championship at Las Vegas with third after his nearest challenger, Hamilton, finished seventh.
Perez‘s vice-championship also secured Red Bull’s first 1-2 in the drivers’ standings in a year which has seen them achieve a near perfect record with 21 race wins.
Despite the success, Perez had a tricky 2023 season as the highs of victory in Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan were followed by five consecutive Q3 misses, which ended his title bid.
“I think it’s a good result for the team, so that’s been that’s the main thing to be able to contribute to the team in this in this way,” said Perez.
“I’m also aware, let’s say, the holes, the downs we had, and I think we’ve learned from them, so I think that’s really good and that’s the best way to look forward.
“I think this year has definitely made us stronger as a group on my side of the garage as a team, so it’s been it’s been good.”