Damon Hill believes that Max Verstappen had "every chance" to catch Sergio Perez in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after the Dutchman seemed "upset" at finishing second.
Verstappen was hit by technical problems during Saturday's qualifying at Jeddah, meaning that he lined up in P15 on the grid for Sunday's race while Perez claimed pole position.
The Dutchman made his way through the field but ultimately ended the race in P2 behind Perez, who clinched the fifth victory of his F1 career so far.
Verstappen voiced his frustrations after the race, stating: "I'm not here to be second."
Hill has since given his take on the situation, and defended Red Bull following Verstappen's comments.
Hill: The team's doing their best
"He looked like he was very upset, that he'd been hard done by for some reason," Hill said on the F1 Nation podcast of Verstappen's post-race demeanour.
"But, frankly, he had every chance to catch up with Checo and he couldn't. He had to go through the field and everything, but that's because of a mechanical problem.
"The team's doing their best. It's not like they've deliberately singled him out for anything."
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Intra-team rivalry versus inter-team rivalry
Red Bull have so far looked dominant against their rivals in 2023, with the team already holding a 49-point advantage over second-placed Aston Martin in the Constructors' Championship.
Should this gap remain, the focus for the Drivers' title battle may be on Verstappen and Perez. Hill does not expect this to worry the team too much, given that they still win with either driver.
"It's intense between the drivers but, as far as the team go, they know they're sitting pretty because they're going to win," Hill explained.
"They're going to win the championship, whichever driver wins. They might have a preferred driver. It's unusual for teams to particularly hedge in favour of one driver much more than the other.
"If they're in a position where they're going to come 1-2 in the championship and win the Constructors' title then, yippee, they're quite happy."
However, should another team move closer in the fight, this is where Hill expects things to get particularly intriguing.
"When you've got intra-team rivalry and you're fighting another team for the title, then it gets really interesting," the 1996 World Champion added.
Join Balve Baines, RacingNews365.com journalist Michael Butterworth and Dieter Rencken, Editorial Director of RacingNews365.com, to discuss the key talking points ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.