Red Bull’s Dirty Secret Exposed Which Led to Max Verstappen Sidelining Sergio Perez

Published 01/17/2023, 5:15 PM EST

When you look at the 2022 Formula 1 season in its entirety, Max Verstappen comes out as breathtakingly dominant. That being said, when you look at the early parts of the season, it was almost certain that the Dutch lion would be toppled off of his No. 1 throne. Ferrari’s F1-75 was pacey as ever with Charles Leclerc at its reigns. At one point in time, even Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez seemed like a bona fide threat to the now 2x Champion. While Ferrari became the architects of their own downfall as the season progressed, it would now appear that Sergio Perez’s title bid was also dismantled from within the team.

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After Sergio Perez won the 2022 Monaco Grand Prix, which becomes the focal point of this story, he was only 15 points behind the championship leader Max Verstappen. With only just a quarter of the season over and no explicit number 1 driver situation in the team, Perez was a proper title contender as far as Red Bull should have been concerned.

Did Red Bull snatch the 2022 title from Sergio Perez’s grasp?

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But during a segment in the Viaplay documentary, ‘Lion Unleashed 2‘ Verstappen’s father Jos seemingly spilled the beans on the internal dynamics within the team that may have cost the Mexican his maiden F1 title. He began, “For me, the turning point came with the Monaco Grand Prix. Max had problems with the car. The car wasn’t to his liking at all.”

Formula One F1. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Yas Marina Circuit. Abu Dhabi. United Arab Emirates. November 20, 2022. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates on the podium after winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. With third placed Red Bull’s Sergio Perez. REUTERS/Aleksandra Szmigiel.

Verstappen senior then went on to shockingly reveal, “Everything changed after Monaco. After that, we worked flat out to change the vehicle’s handling so that Max could fully contribute. The car was developed more for Max’s needs, at the same time the car was made lighter.” [Translated via Google]

It’s no secret that after the Brazilian GP last year, the atmosphere within the team right is not optimum. That being said, in continuation to his father’s comments, Verstappen has now divulged that one difference that sets him miles apart from his teammate.

Max Verstappen boasts about his driving caliber while revealing how Sergio Perez would have done better in the season

Verstappen’s father revealed the details of how the car was made to suit the Dutch driver more. But Perez, at the end of the day, was undoubtedly in the quickest machinery available on the 2022 grid. Yet somehow he still wasn’t able to put up a fight against the dominant reigning champion. Max Verstappen has now explained why.

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Formula One F1. Belgian Grand Prix. Spa-Francorchamps. Spa. Belgium. August 28, 2022. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates after winning the Belgian Grand Prix as Red Bull’s Sergio Perez celebrates after placing second. REUTERS/Johanna Geron.

In the same documentary, Verstappen said, “I was able to make it clear what exactly I need in terms of setting up the racing car. At the beginning of the season the car didn’t sit as I was used to and we were overweight in the wrong places. The lighter the car got, the easier it was to find a different set-up that was more in line with my driving style.”

He also touched on how Checo’s like the setup of his car. “I prefer a front axle that gives me a lot of feeling and allows crisp steering. If that makes the rear lively, then I can live with that very well. A slightly understeering vehicle that pushes beyond the front axle, Sergio Pérez can handle that better than me.”

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WATCH THIS STORY: Charles Leclerc Gets Into Heated Debated With Max Verstappen Fan Over Dinner Time Conversation

Was this a clear case of Red Bull favoritism that led to Verstappen securing his second world title? Or was 2022 Sergio Perez never really up to the standards of Max?

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Anirban Aly Mandal

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Anirban Aly Mandal is a Formula 1 Author at EssentiallySports. In his pursuit for a Bachelor's degree in Law from Symbiosis Law School, he has written multiple academic papers centered around the domain of motorsports. Not only that, but due to his love for F1, he aims to work as a legal advisor in the most prestigious racing series in the world some day.

Edited By: Ranvijay Singh

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