Christian Horner says Red Bull must work “collectively to beat” Ferrari in Baku, the team boss ruling out any talk of team orders in favour of one of his drivers.
The Mexican driver wasn’t happy at the time, saying it was “unfair” but doing it anyway. Verstappen raced to his third win on the trot to take the lead off Charles Leclerc in the Drivers’ standings.
Two weeks later in Monaco it was Perez who took the win, beating Carlos Sainz and Verstappen to the chequered flag.
The more cynical might suggest he won that race because he had a Ferrari between himself and his team-mate but either way his win means he is now just 15 points behind the Dutchman in the standings and very much in the fight.
This Sunday he again has track advantage over his team-mate, starting the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on the front row, P2 to Leclerc’s pole position.
Verstappen will line up P3 ahead of the second Ferrari of Sainz with Horner revealing team orders will not come into play, rather he wants his drivers to work together.
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“It is still too early in the season for that,” he told F1TV. “We have to compete here as a team against Ferrari.
“After all, it is so close together and we’re in a Ferrari sandwich with Leclerc and Sainz.
“More than ever, we will have to operate collectively to beat them.”
The Red Bull team boss believes his drivers are in the hunt for the victory as while they lost out to Leclerc in qualifying, he feels Red Bull have the better race pace.
He told Sky Sports: “I thought before qualifying that it was going to be very tight and that over a single lap, Ferrari would have the edge but we have shown so far on Sunday’s we have a good and competitive race car.
“At a track you can overtake at, hopefully we can give them a hard time.
“It is such a long straight here and the DRS is pretty powerful but of course you have to be close enough to use that in the middle sector so it will all be about trying to go with and convert the start.”
Verstappen lines up on the Baku grid nine points up on Leclerc in the Drivers’ Championship with Perez 15 points off the pace.