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MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 29: Race winner Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing and Third placed Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing talk in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco at Circuit de Monaco on May 29, 2022 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Verstappen: I’m glad Perez extended, we get on really well

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 29: Race winner Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing and Third placed Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing talk in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco at Circuit de Monaco on May 29, 2022 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Departing the Monaco Grand Prix, Max Verstappen topped the 2022 Formula 1 drivers’ standings, but victory in Monte-Carlo has thrust Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez right into contention amid a sniff of growing tension in the air.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc lies second, nine points adrift of Verstappen with Perez 15 points shy of his teammate who two days later inked a contract extension with Red Bull that sees him at the team until the end of 2024.

At the same time, the Verstappen camp through father Jos let it be known that they expected Red Bull to prioritise the title tilt in his son’s favour, after all, he is the reigning F1 World Champion.

Verstappen wrote on their official website: “Red Bull achieved a good result, but at the same time exerted little influence to help Max to the front. That he finished third, he owes to Ferrari’s mistake at that second stop of Charles Leclerc.

“The championship leader, Max, was not helped in that sense by the chosen strategy. It turned completely in Checo’s favour. That was disappointing to me, and I would have liked it to be different for the championship leader,” moaned Verstappen senior.

To which team boss, Christian Horner let it be known that “Red Bull Racing is not Max Verstappen Racing or Sergio Perez Racing.”

Horner: For us, holding onto his pace, race craft and experience was a no-brainer

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 29: Race winner Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco at Circuit de Monaco on May 29, 2022 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Today, in an unusually short preview of the Baku race weekend, Verstappen said in his one-paragraph blurb: “It’s great that Checo has signed a contract extension with the team, it’s nice to have the continuity and I get on really well with him.”

The perception has been that Perez would be a wingman to Verstappen, much like Valtteri Bottas was to Lewis Hamilton during their time at Mercedes. But that was the talk last season, but this year the Mexican has finally been able to tame the car and with every race is getting closer and closer to his teammate.

When announcing the extension deal with 32-year-old Perez, Horner said: “For us, holding onto his pace, race craft and experience was a no-brainer and we are delighted that Checo will continue to race for the team until 2024.

“Time and again he has proved himself to not only be a magnificent team player but as his level of comfort has grown he has become a real force to be reckoned with at the sharp end of the grid.

“For us, holding onto his pace, race craft and experience was a no-brainer and we are delighted that Checo will continue to race for the team until 2024. In partnership with Max, we believe we have a driver pairing that can bring us the biggest prizes in F1,” added Horner.

Before the first European leg of this championship, Red Bull turned a six points deficit into a 36 points lead ahead of Round 8, the 2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.