Max Verstappen doing Red Bull a favour by refusal to help Sergio Perez in Brazil

In the race for second place in the drivers’ standings of Formula One, Max Verstappen made it apparent that he doesn’t believe he should have to assist Sergio Perez in holding off Lewis Hamilton.

Before the Brazilian Grand Prix, Max Verstappen caused some ruckus when he appeared to sidestep a question about supporting Sergio Perez, his teammate.

Lewis Hamilton and the Mexican are fighting it out for second place in the standings. If his poor form persists, the Mercedes driver has the opportunity to pass the Red Bull racer with just 20 points separating them.

In all honesty, Hamilton shouldn’t have the opportunity to do that at this point in the season. Red Bull has provided Perez with the best car available on the grid. Runaway winner Verstappen took full advantage of the situation, dominating everyone while his teammate lost his temper following a strong start.

And that’s where Perez finds himself right now. He’s still battling it out for second place, which should have been decided weeks ago, and he could potentially lose his Red Bull seat entirely if he can’t find the form that we all know he can produce.

That is essential. Perez’s competence is undeniable. He has never been and will never be as good as Verstappen. Red Bull, on the other hand, doesn’t need him to be; they just need a capable lieutenant to come in second to the Dutchman, win when Verstappen is unable to for whatever reason, and perhaps even defeat him consistently.

Perez has the speed to accomplish that, but it’s still unclear if he possesses the necessary mental toughness. He appeared to be trying too hard to defeat Verstappen at times during this season, and now that he is under pressure and in the worst form of his three-year Red Bull career, he is struggling.

Therefore, I have to say that Verstappen made the right decision this past weekend in Brazil when he objected to the notion of assisting Perez merely for the sake of it. His rather scathing response was, “At the end of the day, I think it shouldn’t always be on me to get the points.”

Given that Verstappen has already won the championship and has nothing left to lose by giving his teammate an advantage, some people won’t like it. But if he did that, he wouldn’t be supporting the team. Red Bull needs to be certain that Perez can climb out of the hole he’s dug for himself.

They need to know they have two drivers on the ball next year, in case the championship fight is closer than it has been in 2023. Perez might be able to get himself back on track and produce the form and results the team needs of him. Or he may continue to crumble and Red Bull could be forced into making an earlier-than-planned driver change.

Daniel Ricciardo certainly wouldn’t say no to a return. And Liam Lawson is already on the books to replace the Aussie at AlphaTauri if he were given the nod. At the moment the seat is Perez’s to lose. Verstappen can’t save his Red Bull career for him – only Perez can do that.

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