Max Verstappen may be creating ‘difficulties’ for Red Bull team-mates with his role

George Russell joins Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes

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Max Verstappen was leapfrogged at the top of the F1 Drivers’ Championship last weekend after Lewis Hamilton won the Russian Grand Prix. The duo are battling for dominance in one of the closest F1 title races ever.

Verstappen suffered a slow start to the F1 season in the spring as he won just one of the first four races in the calendar.

Hamilton won the other three to claim top spot in the early stages of the championship.

But Verstappen hit back courtesy of a series of phenomenal displays and won four races between rounds five and nine.

The Dutch driver was then thrown off course as he collided with Hamilton at the Silverstone Grand Prix and crashed out of the race as the Briton secured round 10 victory.

The duo collided again in Italy but have won a further three races between them as they continue to go toe-to-toe.

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Hamilton now leads Verstappen by two points ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix next weekend.

Meanwhile, Red Bull have fallen behind in the Constructors’ Championship. The team’s second driver Sergio Perez won the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in June but has only secured one other podium this year.

Perez is fifth in the Drivers’ Championship but has failed to finish in the top 10 in four of his 15 races this year.

And now Scuderia Alpha Tauri team principal Franz Tost says Verstappen may be creating difficulties for his Red Bull team-mates due to his role.

“Max is the technical lead driver in the team,” Tost said.

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“In other words, he develops the car exactly as he wants it to be. It could be that the second pilot has difficulties.

“I don’t want to say specifically, but he has a unique feeling for how he gets the most out of the breaking point, to the turning point and then to the apex.

“There are other drivers who don’t get along so well with a car that was built for Max. Because they have a different driving style.”

Perez signed a new deal with Red Bull this summer, which will keep him at the Milton Keynes-based outfit until at least the end of the 2022 season.

And after putting pen to paper Perez admitted he is enjoying life with the team.

“I’m really happy to be continuing with a great team like Red Bull into the new era of Formula One and it’s a great opportunity for me,” gushed Perez.

“Everyone starts from zero next year with the new regulations, so my only goal is to go all the way to the top with Red Bull.

“It always takes time to get on top of everything when you join a new team but things have worked well this season and I really enjoy being a part of the Red Bull family.

“We’ve been working hard to deliver results so it’s great to see the team have faith in me for the future.”

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