Canadian GP: Red Bull being 'sensible' about contest with Max Verstappen, says Sergio Perez
"I just want to do the maximum for myself. I'm in this Championship and I want to win it but, I'm also aware we have to look after the team. Up to now, the team has been very sensible with everything they have done." - Sergio Perez; watch the Canadian GP live on Sky Sports
Last Updated: 17/06/22 11:26pm
Sergio Perez says Red Bull are being 'sensible' when it comes to the contest between himself and team-mate Max Verstappen.
The Mexican driver, who Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says is currently in the "form of his life", sits second in the Drivers' Championship behind Verstappen.
With just 21 points separating the two and Red Bull leading the way on track, the spotlight on the drivers' rivalry and the team's strategy is intensifying.
Perez knows he's performing well, but also recognises the team's position is of paramount importance.
"I just want to do the maximum for myself. I'm in this Championship and I want to win it but, I'm also aware that we have to look after the team," Perez said to Sky Sports F1 in Montreal.
"Up to now, the team has been very sensible with everything they have done.
"In Barcelona, we disagreed," Perez continued. "We spoke after the race, and we agreed it straight away. You could see that change was already made for Monaco.
"That's why I'm super happy, I recently renewed for the team. Things are going in the right direction and my role to play is to try and go for the Championship."
At the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Perez was irked by letting Verstappen through early on and not getting the favour back. Then in the closing moments, with the Mexican leading the race, he was told not to hold up Verstappen.
The following weekend in Monaco, Perez won his first race of the season but the team's approach was criticised by Jos Verstappen, before Horner put that to one side.
"Dads and fathers are never totally objective," Horner said. "What wasn't apparent was all of the information that we have during a race. If Max had pitted, then he would have come out behind I think George (Russell) at the time.
"Jos is his own person and personality. He's got opinions and that's absolutely fine, that's his opinion. The reality for us was obviously slightly different… it's no issue."
Perez's team boss then continued to clarify the team's current position regarding race strategy. He insisted that if Perez out-qualified his team-mate - as he did in Monaco - he would get the first call during the race.
"The No 1 driver is the driver that's ahead, it's as simple as that," Horner said. "That's why Checo got the call on the pit stop, Max wouldn't even have had track position for example on that lap.
"But, our fight isn't between the two drivers, we've got a very competitive Ferrari with two fast drivers in it.
"Collectively as a team, we've got to take the fight and take the challenge to Ferrari, who are looking very quick this year."
In Baku, team orders of 'no fighting' were delivered to Perez across team radio, which Horner said was just to avoid a repeat of 2018 when Red Bull's two drivers - Daniel Ricciardo and Verstappen - had a heavy collision.
"We talked the morning before the race and said if you find ourselves racing each other, then just give each other space and respect the team. That's why we just reminded Checo of 'no fighting'."
Perez said he didn't need to have the conversation as "it was clear" and Max was faster.
We have very open communication; we have a good relationship. He wants to win and I want to win, at the end of the day we have a lot of respect for each other. If there’s something, we don’t need the team to tell us what to do, we are both mature enough to know what’s right and what’s wrong.
Sergio Perez about team-mate Max Verstappen
In signing his new contract to stay at Red Bull, Perez feels a greater amount of 'stability' and that should enable him to try and achieve his ultimate goal.
"I'm in a privileged position. I'm here because I want to win, I've been in the sport for so many years, right now I just want to win.
"I have a great opportunity and I'm enjoying the lead up to it, because having a team like Red Bull, we have a lot of fun, but it's all about winning.
"The combination of both [fun and winning], I haven't found it anywhere else. That's why I'm very happy with the team."
Horner: There's a healthy respect
With the season now having moved to Montreal, Red Bull boss Horner reiterated that both drivers recognise the challenge the team is facing this season.
"There's a healthy respect between the two drivers," he said. "They actually quite like each other which helps, whether that will last, we'll see!
"They recognise that the job they're doing for the team is bigger than certain interests at the moment, whether it stays like that we'll see. They're pushing each other and getting the best out of each other.
"As long as they're respectful with each other [they can compete on track], what you don't want to do is to see one put the other in a wall or anything like that.
"Things can change so quickly; at the moment it's about building that gap and maintaining that gap to Ferrari. The drivers have done a brilliant job so far this year and we just need to keep that momentum going."