Christian Horner fires warning to Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez

F1 preview: A lap of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Christian Horner has warned Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez mist “respect the team” at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Red Bull stressed the two drivers were free to race but insisted the two stars had to keep it clean.

He called on the pair to “respect each other” as he highlighted the importance of securing a good result despite their early season dominance. Speaking to Sky Sports F1, Horner said: “The priority is to take as many points as you can in both championships.

“It’s such an early stage of the champions still it’s about not flittering away points. It’s a question of okay let’s get the points on the board. The drivers are of course free to race so long as they do it cleanly and respect each other and obviously the team because we have a lot riding on this.”

Tensions have increased at Red Bull in recent months with the pair clashing on several occasions as they fight at the front of the field. Verstappen ignored team orders to let Perez through at Sao Paulo last year which sparked friction between the two camps.

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The duo reunited for the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi but appeared to clash once again at the 2023 Saudi Arabian GP. Perez approached Verstappen for talks and demanded a review after it emerged Verstappen had stolen the Mexican’s fastest lap time.

Earlier this year, Perez also insisted he “won’t give” Verstappen support if he doesn’t get help from the Dutchman himself. Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber clashed at Red Bull back in 2013 as the pair battled for wins.

Meanwhile, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Nuco Rosberg were embroiled in a major feud before the German walked away after 2016.

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Horner has repeatedly claimed there were no issues between his two drivers. Speaking ahead of the race in Baku, the 49-year-old doubled down on his stance as he warned the team had clear expectations.

He explained: “They are two competitive drivers, the relationship is fine, there is a good respect between the two of them. They both know the responsibility they have driving for the team.

“There’s expectations that come with that, but they’re in a good place. They’ve been a very effective pairing for us, and I expect that to continue.”

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