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Verstappen vs Perez: will history repeat itself?

Verstappen vs Perez: will history repeat itself?

6 June - 13:45
11 Comments

GPblog.com

Already several times Red Bull Racing 's team management has said it: Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez are free to race. The team does not care who becomes world champion, as long as it is one of them. It all sounds sporting, but is it really true? Thoughts go back to twelve years ago.

Agreements

The similarities are striking. Currently, Red Bull has at its disposal a self-trained super-talent (Verstappen), alongside the seasoned, brought in from outside Perez. In 2010 it was one Sebastian Vettel (trained at sister team Torro Rosso) who was a teammate of the experienced Mark Webber. Verstappen and Perez get along very well and there is (according to Red Bull) no question of a first or second driver. So it was initially between Vettel and Webber. Until they both had a chance to win the title.

In 2009 Vettel had become vice-champion, in 2010 he had to and would conquer the main prize. But it was Webber who started the season with the upper hand. After six races, the Australian was proudly leading the championship. At race number seven in Istanbul, Webber confirmed his excellent form and took the pole on Saturday. Vettel started from third position.


Controversy

During the race, the Red Bull's were by far the fastest, with Webber in first place and Vettel behind. But the German wanted more. Vettel had to if he was not to fall even further behind in the title race. After a clever pit stop strategy, Vettel was suddenly on Webber's tail and decided to pass his rival. The maneuver ended in tears: both drivers hit each other and Vettel had to stop the fight. Webber still managed to finish third.

Vettel threw out a tirade over the on-board radio: "What the f** are we doing here? What a stupid action! I'm going home! F** you." Not much later, Vettel made the universal gesture that Webber was crazy. In short, the internal fight at Red Bull had exploded. Then, to the surprise of many, it was team boss Christian Horner and advisor Helmut Marko who sided with Vettel. The German should have been given more space, they thought. This raised eyebrows among many experts, as the consensus was that the accident was actually Vettel's fault.

Front wing

A few weeks later, during the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, the tensions between them surfaced again. After an accident during free practice, Vettel was given access to the new front wing fitted to Webber's car. Despite this, Webber won the race, exclaiming over the radio, "Not bad for a number 2 driver." It was the first time that the Australian let it be known to the outside world that he felt disadvantaged compared to his teammate.

Before the start of the last and decisive Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso led the championship, ahead of Webber and Vettel. The latter indicated in the run-up to the race that he would help Webber become champion, if necessary. In the end, it was Vettel himself who won the race, taking his first of four titles. It was also the moment that Webber realized that he was now truly the second man on the team.

Does Perez really have a chance?

No doubt Perez has thought about the fight between Vettel and Webber. Yes, they would be equal, Red Bull had said. But actually, the team then revolved around a young German. Just as Red Bull now revolves around Max Verstappen. So it remains to be seen whether history will repeat itself twelve years on....

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