Sergio Perez says that he feels he is now receiving equal opportunities at Red Bull alongside Max Verstappen, suggesting that it wasn’t the case when he first joined the team.
Perez linked up with Red Bull at the start of the 2021 season and played a key role in the Dutchman’s run to a first Formula 1 title.
Verstappen has consistently out-paced Perez during their partnership, but the latter has expressed stronger confidence during the early stages of 2023.
Last time out in Saudi Arabia, Perez took a commanding race victory as Verstappen was forced to recover through the field following a driveshaft failure during qualifying.
Although Verstappen has held the upper hand across the last two years, when asked if he has the tools to get the most out of Red Bull’s RB19 car, Perez said: “I fully believe I do.
“Certainly, when I first came to the team things were very different. Basically, they were just going racing with two cars because they had to.
“I can say now that I really feel part of the team, really feel I have my place and am well respected.
“I think that’s something good to have as a driver and I really believe I have the full support of the team as much as Max does and that I will have every single opportunity to win the championship as much as Max does.”
Tension arose between Verstappen and Perez in the latter stages of the 2022 season over a team order controversy in Brazil.
Last time out in Jeddah, there was another flicker of unease in the relationship when Perez claimed he got different information to Verstappen regarding the fastest lap of the race.
Verstappen took the extra point for the fastest lap on the last tour of the circuit, with Perez stating that things could’ve been communicated more clearly.
“I just feel like things … the communication I had was probably misunderstood with my engineer,” Perez said.
“I probably regret not having a go at the fastest lap because I thought that was the case.
“But the communication that they’d told me something and told something different to Max… but it was just down to us to go out there and do it.”
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