Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe
Formula 1 Saudi Arabian GP

Hill: Perez "won't go down without a fight" in F1 title battle

Damon Hill thinks Sergio Perez "won't go down without a fight" against Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen after winning his first Formula 1 race of the season in Saudi Arabia.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, Ben Waterhouse, Head of Performance Engineering at Red Bull Racing, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing

After a driveshaft failure in qualifying relegated Verstappen to starting 15th in Jeddah, the two-time world champion climbed the order in the race but had to settle for second behind team-mate Perez, who had a free run to pole.

That means Verstappen and Perez head to Australia with one win each and just one point separating them in the standings - with Verstappen grabbing the fastest lap bonus point on the final lap of the Jeddah race, taking it off Perez in the process.

While Perez proved a reliable asset for Red Bull over the past two years, he didn't manage to put Verstappen under regular threat. But speaking to Autosport, Hill believes the Mexican will be offer more resistance this year.

"Checo knows what he's up against, but he's not going to go down without a fight. It could be quite interesting," said 1996 F1 world champion Hill, who is heading to Melbourne as part of the Ten Network's F1 coverage in Australia.

Amid expectations that Verstappen will soon assert his dominance on track as he aims to score a hat-trick of world titles, Hill reckons the Dutchman and his clan will also be exerting pressure off track where necessary.

"I think the problem that you have is that Max is a bit of a force of nature, and it's how much pressure he can put on the team to make sure his championship aspirations are not interfered with by Checo," said Hill.

"From the point of view of the sport, I think that they need to let Checo have every opportunity to fight with a level playing field within that team. Because I know the pressure from the Verstappens, his dad as well, on Red Bull will be intense.

"He'll be pulling out the card of saying, 'I'm your future. The whole opportunity is built around me' and he'll be leveraging them."

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Hill praised Perez's ability to come into Red Bull as Verstappen's team-mate and gain a foothold, which his less experienced predecessors Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon didn't manage to do.

"We've seen young guys go there and find themselves without friends and they can be intimidated, and they've had to go elsewhere, like Gasly and Albon," Hill added.

"You could even say Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo have experienced that. It's a tough environment, Red Bull. They don't put their arm around you and go, 'we'll look after you, don't worry'.

Read Also:

"Checo has got people in his corner and we'll see how it plays out.

"Whatever happens, the Verstappens won't be taking it lying down. You saw after Saudi Arabia that Max was... I would say sulking is not too strong a word. He looked very unhappy about the way things went. They don't like coming second."

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation

Related video

Previous article Verstappen: "Poor" visibility makes missing F1 grid slot easy to do
Next article McLaren F1 boss plays down Baku GP upgrade package

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe