Pérez accused of naivety: “When does Max listen to Red Bull?”

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Pérez accused of naivety: “When does Max listen to Red Bull?”

At the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix it was soon clear that Red Bull Racing was dominant again and that Sergio Pérez and Max Verstappen were going to finish first and second. At the end of the race, there was a lot of communication on the on-board radio of both drivers regarding the lap times that the gentlemen had to set. To the disappointment of race winner Pérez, Verstappen took the point for the fastest lap time in the very last lap. Naive, according to ESPN F1’s Podcast Unlapped.

ESPN reporter Nate Saunders states in the ESPN Podcast that Pérez should take an example from Nico Rosberg, who was Lewis Hamilton’s teammate for four years and took the world title in 2016 after changing his approach: “I’m surprised that Checo surprised that Max doesn’t listen to the team’, Saunders begins. That’s the feeling I got from him at the end of the race. Someone has to wake him up. Don’t you remember what happened in Brazil last year?’ In Brazil last year, Verstappen was instructed to let Pérez pass, but to the fury of the Mexican, Verstappen refused to do so. “It’s a very interesting position we’re in this season. It is clear that Pérez will be Verstappen’s only challenger for the championship.’

So what Pérez needs to do is look at what Rosberg did in 2014 and 2016 to get under the skin of Hamilton. And a big part of that was just to play the game the same way Hamilton did,” Saunders explained. Mercedes was also dominant in 2016 and it was soon clear that Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were going to decide who would take the title for a third year in a row. The situation seems similar this year at Red Bull, although Saunders sees an important difference: “It’s a slightly different situation in the sense that Pérez is probably easier to fire from Red Bull if things get out of hand than Verstappen. They are never going to tell Verstappen that they are going to fire him because of an incident.’

With the current attitude, Pérez looks hopeless over a 23-race season, so according to Saunders he has to approach it differently: “I think that Pérez just, if the team tells him something, that he shouldn’t necessarily distrust it, but that he should also respond to that by saying that he needs that fastest lap. If he believes in himself that he can take that fastest lap, he should. That’s what Max did.’

When does Max listen to Red Bull?

Verstappen has ignored instructions from his race engineer on several occasions, so Pérez should consider doing the same. “It will be interesting to see what happens if this situation happens again. I don’t think we’re going to see many situations where we see Checo (Pérez, ed.) For Max this season. So it was interesting to see that with that situation coming up, Max was still able to take the fastest lap away from him. I was hoping that Pérez would indicate that he would set his own lap times, because Max clearly did. When does Max ever listen to Red Bull when they try to slow him down and tell them what they want him to do? He never did.’

“So for Pérez to expect Max to follow up on the messages he got, I think it’s pretty naive, if that’s how it went. I don’t know but if that’s what happened then he needs to change his mindset because he’s not going to win a championship if he just assumes from the team that’s what’s happening and trusts Max to do the same because that’s how it goes not.’ Whether Pérez will change his approach, we will see in the rest of the season. The Mexican will want to go for his chance, but will also realize that he may have less credit with the team if he refuses to follow instructions.

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