Perez’s father weighs in on Verstappen feud as tension builds between ‘tigers’

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Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen are like “two tigers”, according to the former’s father. Antonio Perez Garibay warned the pair’s battle could follow in the footsteps of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost who famously fell out at McLaren.

In a threat to the Dutchman, Garibay warned Perez “thinks like” Verstappen and could challenge him for the crown. He told Por Esto: “For me, this is the new edition of Senna and Prost at McLaren.

“We have two tigers in the same cage. They think alike, they act alike. They try to snatch the point for the fastest lap from each other, because every point counts in this World Championship. Not only do they chase every pole position, they also want to be one step ahead in every free practice session.”

Perez and Verstappen clashed last season with fears the relationship is starting to sour. Verstappen ignored team orders to let Perez through in Sao Paulo which sparked an intra-team row.

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Tensions were also high at Saudi Arabia with Perez approaching Verstappen for talks after finding out the reigning champion had stolen his fastest lap. Perez has repeatedly laid down a title challenge to Verstappen and has started the season well with two wins from five races.

The ex-Force India star lies just 14 points behind the double world champion in the standings. However, the gap could tighten after the next race in Monaco with Perez performing notably better than his team-mate at street circuits.

Garibay feels Perez has now “changed” and expects him to use his new found confidence to battle for top honours. Perez Snr also claims the Mexican could remain in F1 for ten years despite his current Red Bull deal expiring at the end of next season.

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He added: “It’s all about nuances in favour of Max. But on difficult circuits, the two are on an equal footing. My son has changed. What he says and how he behaves is different, he shows a lot more self-confidence. He used to be happy for points.

“It took a long time before he got a competitive car. If this chance had come earlier, Checo would already be World Champion, I’m quite sure of that.

“And he still has ten years to go to win the title.”

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