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Formula 1 Brazilian GP

Perez “sure” he’ll have support from Verstappen in F1 runner-up battle 

Sergio Perez says he is “sure” he will have support from Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen in his battle with Lewis Hamilton for the runner-up spot in the Formula 1 world championship.

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

Last year in a similar situation at Interlagos, a civil war broke out in the Red Bull camp after Verstappen refused to let Perez by to score extra points.

It later emerged that it was seen by Verstappen as payback after Perez’s qualifying crash in Monaco several months earlier had stopped the Dutchman’s shot at pole.

Perez is currently lying second 20 points ahead of Lewis Hamilton with three events to go, including the sprint weekend in Brazil.

PLUS: How his home race crash perfectly encapsulates why Perez lost the 2023 F1 title battle

A one-two in the world championship is a prized target of team boss Christian Horner, as Red Bull has not previously achieved it.

Perez believes that this time around Verstappen will help if there’s a scenario where swapping the cars around will give the Mexican priceless extra points.

"We haven't thought about it,” said Perez when asked if he expected to have help from his team-mate. “But I think if the situation arises, I'm sure I would have support from Max."

When asked if he would support Perez this time, Verstappen opted not to give a clear-cut answer and instead hoped such a scenario won’t arise again this year.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19

"At the end of the day, I think that it shouldn't always matter [depend] on me, to get the points,” said the Dutchman.

“But I'm confident in Checo that he can stay ahead, because I do think that on average, we have the faster car.

“And I think also last year, it wasn't really well spoken about before we got into the race weekend.

"But let's just hope that we don't get into that. That situation I think is better for everyone."

Meanwhile, Perez revealed how hard it was to deal with his accident on the first lap of his home race last weekend.

"Yeah, it was very painful, super painful, going back home,” when asked by Autosport how he’d felt on Sunday evening.

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“It was just a very sad day. It hurt a lot, especially when you think about what could have happened if there was no contact. I was close to making it work.

“But then very quickly, also, I realised that I gave it all. I was fighting for the lead, and I took a gamble. And it didn't pay off.

“But I had to make sure that I hold my head high, because I gave it all through the weekend. And the fans were amazing also after the event with so much support, and also the team was super supportive. So yeah, it helps that we are back here in Sao Paulo."

Perez insisted that he’s fully focused coming into the Interlagos weekend after receiving public support from Red Bull bosses Christian Horner and Helmut Marko.

"Definitely,” he said. “I think it's a great opportunity for me to show how strong I am mentally, and how can I think as an athlete.

"You always have these sorts of moments, but the most important thing is how you overcome them, and how you recover from them."

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