Max Verstappen ready to switch focus on helping Sergio Perez beat Charles Leclerc

Henry Valantine
Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen speaking after the race. Baku June 2022

Red Bull team-mates Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen speaking after the race. Baku June 2022

Max Verstappen said he is aware of the importance of making sure Sergio Perez makes it a Red Bull one-two in the Drivers’ Championship, and is ready to help do so.

Verstappen has already wrapped up the Drivers’ title and, with the support of Perez, Red Bull secured the Constructors’ Championship back in Austin as well.

Another podium for Perez at his home race in Mexico put him five points ahead of Charles Leclerc in second place in the Drivers’ standings, and with two races and a sprint to go, the reigning champion wants to see his team-mate come in behind him come the end of the year.

But with sprint qualifying to prepare for, he knows it won’t be an easy task to get the car in the right window for qualifying with only one free practice session on Friday.

“It’s always nice to be back in Brazil, it’s beautiful here and so rich in culture,” Verstappen said ahead of the weekend.

“Interlagos is a short track and with all the elevation changes and cambered corners, it’s a really cool track to drive.

“There’s obviously a lot of history at the track too, which I love. The sprint race set up this weekend means we only have a short practice window, so that always makes it a slightly more difficult, ensuring that the car is perfect and that we set up the car well with limited time.

“As a team we want to finish first and second in the championship so it’s important that we make sure Checo stays ahead of Charles.”

As for Perez himself, he heads into the Sao Paulo Grand Prix weekend with a positive feeling as he looks to take second in the standings, albeit quite some way behind his team-mate.

With the pace within Red Bull’s RB18, despite Mercedes’ recent resurgence, the Mexican still puts his team as being the ones to beat around Interlagos this weekend.

“I am going into the final two races of the season still feeling like I have everything to win,” Perez said.

“We might be Constructors’ champions but as a team, and for me personally, it is hugely important to secure a one-two in the Drivers’ Championship.

“For that I need to keep fighting and stay driven to achieve the best possible result in every race, including this weekend’s Sprint.

“The sprint is a chance to score vital points, so it is important we get a good practice session in on Friday morning and qualify well.

“If we put everything together this weekend, we are the team to beat and we are still so driven maintain the incredible form we have going this season.”

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