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Red Bull Racing

Horner: Perez free to challenge Verstappen

The gap between the two Red Bull drivers stands at six points after Sergio Perez won both Sprint and Grand Prix in Azerbaijan.

Perez Baku
To news overview © XPBimages

Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has confirmed Sergio Perez is free to challenge Max Verstappen for the F1 Drivers' Championship.

The Mexican drew within six points of teammate Verstappen after completing a clean sweep of Sprint and race at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix to secure his second victory of the season, having won in Saudi Arabia.

There has been tension between the two drivers since an incident in Brazil last season and, with no challenger able to compete with Red Bull on pace in the opening four races, Verstappen and Perez look set for an intra-team battle for the title.

“At moment it's the two of them,” said Horner, speaking to media including RacingNews365.com.

“There's a slight gap between the rest of the field, but there's 19 more races to go - and five sprint races.

“There's a huge amount of racing and a whole variance of different circuits to go through, so it could ebb and flow between the two of them.

“Reliability will be a key factor and what we're more focused on as well at the moment is building a buffer with both of the drivers because when we get back to Europe, I'm sure there's going to be sizeable upgrades.

"We have a reduced capacity to develop this year, so that's where our focus is – trying to build a gap.”

Free to race

Confirming Perez was allowed to challenge Verstappen for honours, Horner added: “There's six points between them after four races so yeah, they're both competitive drivers.

“They both want to win, which is why they're employed by the team. And I think that it's down to what they do on the track. They were free to race today and, all year so far, they've been free.

"[They are free] until the team's interests – if you're competing against a competitor – becomes bigger than the drivers' interests. But, as it is at the moment, they're free to race.”

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Balve Bains is joined by RacingNews365.com Editorial Director Dieter Rencken and Asia Correspondent Michael Butterworth to dissect the key talking points from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

F1 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix RN365 News dossier


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