Sergio Perez should accept he is Red Bull’s number two driver behind Max Verstappen or leave the team, according to David Coulthard. The former Red Bull star said Perez had “consistently not delivered” compared to Verstappen so should accept he has to play second fiddle.
Coulthard even claimed the Mexican owes Red Bull for giving him a chance to return when it looked like his F1 career was over at the end of 2020. He said: “Checo was out of Formula 1 with no one knocking on his door. Red Bull gave him the opportunity to come back, and a car that’s nailed on to win races.
“He’s had a fair crack of the whip to try to beat Max, and he has consistently not delivered on the same level. He has occasionally done so, and I admire the victories he has had.” He added: “If Checo doesn’t like it, then he can leave the team, but where is he going? So, for me, it’s just another one of those sporting decisions.”
Red Bull have been embroiled in a feud since Verstappen ignored the team’s requests last weekend.
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Verstappen was asked to let Perez through on the final lap in Sao Paulo but the request was denied. The team wanted Perez to score more points to go into Abu Dhabi with an advantage over Charles Leclerc as the pair battle for P2 in the Drivers’ Championship.
After the race, the Dutchman hit back at his race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase over team radio, declaring he had his reasons for not following instructions. Perez blasted Verstappen after the race, claiming the incident showed who he really was.
Christian Honer has tried to cool the situation as he claimed the pair had discussed the issue internally. But, the team principal has refused to elaborate on Verstappen’s reasons for the move despite rumours it stemmed from an incident between the pair at the Monaco Grand Prix.
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Coulthard continued to defend Verstappen, claiming arguments were part of an elite drivers mentality. He told Mirror Sport: “The reality is that Max is one of the elite drivers in the world. Elite drivers like the Schumachers and Sennas didn’t pass through their career without examples of stand-offs and disagreements with their teams.
“That’s part of their DNA and part of what makes them successful. To use a line from Jerry Maguire, ‘it’s not show friends, it’s showbusiness’.”