Sergio Perez backed into a corner by Verstappen over Red Bull future

Sergio Perez extends contract with Red Bull Racing until 2024

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Sergio Perez could be forced out of Red Bull if he takes matters into his own hands like Max Verstappen, according to ex-F1 star Jolyon Palmer. He thinks the Mexican could be replaced at the top team if he doesn’t “stay in favour” with Red Bull team bosses amid tensions between the two drivers at the end of last season.

It comes after Max Verstappen ignored team orders to let Perez through at the end of the Brazilian Grand Prix as he fought Charles Leclerc for second in the championship. Perez claimed the move showed who Verstappen really was while the Dutchman stressed a previous incident between the pair had prompted the move,

Palmer feels that Perez may be less likely to comply with team orders to help Verstappen in 2023. However, he has warned the reigning champions could be ready to replace the 33-year-old if he fails to fall in behind them.

He said: “The logic would have been maybe he wouldn’t after the Brazil thing where Max didn’t help Checo get second in the championship last year which is what Checo was fighting for.

“The logic would say maybe he would be more hesitant, He did such a job in Abu Dhabi and Turkey [in 2021]. Some of those defensive lunges back on Hamilton, it clinched the title for Max. Particularly in Abu Dhabi holding him back for a whole lap and a bit.

“So he really did a huge job in those crucial moments so the logic now would say maybe he wouldn’t if he feels the favour has not been returned. But he has to, to stay in favour with Red Bull. He’s got no [choice]. If he doesn’t do that they will hoick him out for someone who will be a bit more compliant.”

Perez also handed victory to Verstappen in Spain and was asked to not fight his team-mate in Azerbaijan. Team boss Christian Horner has defended the team and suggested they had no preference who won races for the squad.

However, Red Bull now have a wealth of talent at their disposal after signing Daniel Ricciardo as a reserve driver after his McLaren exit. Palmer has also highlighted the threat of Nyck de Vries who joins the grid on a full-time basis in 2023.

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He added: “There’s not just Daniel. There’s maybe Nyck de Vries now at AlphaTauri. That’s the classic way to get into Red Bull through AlphaTauri. Good performance and then get the climb up.

“There’s going to be pressure on Checo but I think whilst Red Bull are winning, they won the Constructors with ease, they won the Drivers’ with ease.

“As long as they have a harmonious relationship it’s a bit like keeping Valtteri Bottas in a Mercedes at this point, there’s a bit of a gap between the two drivers but if you’re winning it’s pretty much okay.”

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