Max Verstappen was motivated by Sergio Perez’s ‘street king’ reputation

Max Verstappen was motivated by Sergio Perez's 'street king' reputation

According to Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez’s reputation as the Formula 1 ‘Street King’ motivated him to disprove everyone.

Max Verstappen has admitted that Sergio Perez’s team efforts to promote him as the F1 ‘Street King’ made the situation far much worse for the triple world champion and eventually motivated him to disprove them.

After taking first place in both the Saudi Arabian and Azerbaijan races which were the first rounds of the 2023 Formula 1 Championship, Perez was dubbed “F1’s Street King” by his father and commentators when he lined up on the grid for the Miami Grand Prix.

However, Verstappen proved them wrong. The Dutchman’s lead over his Red Bull teammate was six points going into the Miami Grand Prix.

Despite the fact that Perez started Sunday’s race in pole position and Verstappen was down in ninth place as a result of a botched starting maneuver and a late red light for Charles Leclerc, the Dutchman won the race.

On the 48th lap of the 57-lap street race, the reigning World Champion overcame Perez and went on to finish five seconds ahead of his teammate.

The following rounds from that point featured a miserable qualifying performance for Perez and 10 consecutive race victories for Verstappen. By the time Perez fully recovered, Verstappen was virtually the undisputed 2023 Formula 1 World Champion.

Verstappen has admitted that his initial motivation was sparked by Perez’s personnel and analysts praise on the Mexican driver’s skills on street circuits.

In an interview with, Verstappen revealed that he was inspired to charge after hearing Perez’s fans and commentators laud his skills on street circuits.

“It only makes me even more motivated to show that it is not the case,” the Red Bull star said. “That is actually the wrong motivation for other people, but it’s not like that scares me.

“Certain media, for example from Mexico or Spanish-language media, are of course hyping that. People are of course hoping for a title fight anyway.”

After Perez’s second victory of the season in Baku, Verstappen and his teammate, who had both won two and lost two of the first four races stood apart by just six points. The Dutchman led by 575 points to 285 at the end of the campaign.

“I also know that at the start of the season, we will never really get the circuits that suit me perfectly,” he added. “Those tracks will only come later in the year, the faster circuits with lots of fast corners.

“I wasn’t worried at all at that moment. It was just a matter of us having to tie certain details together a little better. In the end, we succeeded quite well after Baku.

“You can certainly believe in it yourself. But in the end there are a lot of races during a season. To become champion, you have to be very consistent. You can hardly make mistakes.

“That is ultimately what a championship is won on.”

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