Red Bull in civil war warning amid Verstappen and Perez tension

Horner opens up on Red Bull's 'barren spell' amid Mercedes dominance

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Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez still have a difficult relationship which could derail Red Bull’s title hopes, according to David Croft. The Sky Sports F1 commentator warns there is still “friction between the two drivers” as Verstappen and Perez clashed moments after the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Croft also stressed the constructor almost lost out on securing a one-two finish as mechanical issues plagued Verstappen on Saturday. He told Sky Sports F1’s Vodcast: “You think it’s serene at Red Bull at the moment but I think under the water there’s a lot of legs kicking.

“I’m not sure everything is exactly how Christian Horner would like it and the team would like it for a smooth domination. They are dominating Formula One on the track at the moment but they came very close to not having that one-two.

“They had issues in the race, if you look in that cool-down room after the race there is still friction between the two drivers.

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“Checo was not a happy man being asked to do target lap times slower than his team-mate.” Perez approached Verstappen in the cool-down room as he learned the Dutchman had stolen his fastest lap at the death.

It emerged Verstappen may have ignored team orders to keep to a set lap time in order to take the extra point. The 25-year-old retains the lead of the Drivers’ Championship in the run-up to Australia.

However, the incident appeared to put a damper on Perez’s win with the ex-Force India driver appearing dissatisfied at Verstappen’s response. Perez queried: “Weren’t you told to keep the pace?”

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Verstappen tried to justify his decision, adding: “1.33.0, yes. In the end, I asked what the fastest lap was and it was not much faster than we had already driven.” Perez replied: “That was the information I had and that’s why I didn’t push at the end.”

Jos Verstappen also added to the struggles in Jeddah after footage emerged of the former Benetton star refusing to celebrate with Red Bull mechanics. Croft highlighted the incident as key to working out the split in the camp just two races into the new season.

He commented: “As for his team-mates’ Dad, all is clearly not well in Jos Verstappen’s mind when his son finishes second, leads the world championship and he can barely break a smile. What was going on there.”

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