For Max Verstappen, it is clear that two big threats have been confirmed. Obviously, Max Verstappen is the clear favourite to succeed himself as Formula 1 world champion, but he has two threats, which are different in many respects, in his path at the start of the season. With Fernando Alonso on fire and Sergio Perez not wanting to be outdone, the two-time Dutch world champion knows what to expect.
The second race weekend of the season was a turbulent one for Max Verstappen. His gearbox failed in qualifying and the two-time world champion had to start from 15th on the grid. He then had to make a big comeback to try and limit the damage. It was a formality for his Red Bull, which swallowed up the pack.
At the finish, Max Verstappen was between his two most serious rivals for this season: Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso. The Dutchman will have more work to do than expected.
Perez to play his card
Having won in Jeddah two weeks after finishing second in Bahrain, Sergio Perez is looking to make the move that could make all the difference. In a car that is stronger than ever, the Mexican driver is playing his cards close to his chest and putting pressure on Max Verstappen.
Surprised to see that his leader had finally set the fastest lap in the race, he didn’t hesitate to shout. Perez is assertive and feels that after two years of loyal service, his time has come.
“We will have to review the way we communicate because Max has obviously not understood the same thing…”
The title will undoubtedly be decided between us this season and we will have to be clear internally, because it is my turn to be champion”, he confided.
Alonso confirms contention
Once again on the podium, for the 100th time in his career, Fernando Alonso is asserting himself as Max Verstappen’s rival. Unlike Sergio Perez, he does not have a car as fast as the Dutchman, but he has full power at Aston Martin and is not likely to be heckled by his teammate, at least for the moment.
He also has a huge amount of confidence and hopes to get closer to the Red Bulls over the course of the season by taking advantage of the Austrian team’s sanction after overtaking the cost-cap. While everything looked calm for him, Max Verstappen finds himself greatly threatened.