Romain Grosjean: Verstappen is the ‘number 1’ at Red Bull
Romain Grosjean has dismissed the suggestion that Sergio Perez will have “equal” status at Red Bull to Verstappen, emphasising that the reigning World Champion will enjoy priority at the Austrian squad.
In an interview with gpfans, the F1 podium-finisher spoke about the team dynamics at Red Bull:
“No, Max is the number one and Sergio is number two.
That is the way Red Bull has always worked and all the radio communications you get in the race, even in Baku, the message to Perez was ‘no fighting’.
I mean, he was leading the race, why wouldn’t he fight to keep the lead?
It is very clear at Red Bull and to be fair, Max has done such an incredible job for the team, that it is kind of normal that he has the priority.”
Sergio Perez has exceeded most expectations of him going into this season, establishing himself as a legitimate contender after taking his second race win with Red Bull at the Monaco GP.
However, there are still those – like Grosjean – who doubt Perez’s ability to sustain a season-long championship battle with Verstappen, expecting the Dutchman to lead the charge at Red Bull.
Verstappen’s victory alongside Perez’s retirement in Canada helped the #1 car extend its lead in the standings to almost 50 points, putting Perez on the backfoot and requiring the Mexican driver to either take some race victories, capisalite on Verstappen retirements, or both, to retake the championship leads.
Team orders have already been exercised in Spain and Baku, though the fairness of these instructions can be debated. What cannot be debated, however, is that the relationship between Perez and Red Bull will be under heightened scrutiny this season.