Sergio Perez vows to ‘help’ Max Verstappen out in Lewis Hamilton battle at Russian GP

George Russell joins Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes

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Red Bull driver Sergio Perez has made it clear he’s keen to help his team-mate Max Verstappen for the last few races of the season as the Dutchman hunts down the first Formula One world title of his career.

Perez, who only joined the outfit at the start of the year, has already proved useful for Red Bull and his team-mate, winning in Baku when Verstappen suffered a tyre blow-out, and only recently was praised by the team after giving the 23-year-old a tow at Monza during qualifying.

“It is very important we help each other out and try to get the most from each weekend for the team,” he said in Red Bull’s preview ahead of the Russian Grand Prix.

“Especially as we come towards the end of the season where there are less races to capitalise on.”

Hamilton knows he must ‘fight fire with fire’ vs Verstappen

Mercedes have won the race every single time that Formula One has visited Sochi, and even though Verstappen picked up Red Bull’s first podium last season at the track, the British-based German team have proved very dominant.

And the Mexican says the team is aware they could be on the back-foot in Russia, however, is adamant they can bring the fight to Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

“Mercedes have won every race at Sochi since 2014 so they’re the favourites this weekend,” he said.

“They’re definitely going to be hard to beat but like always we will give it our best.

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“Sochi is a track I like because it is very technical, fast and fluid which I think makes qualifying quite exciting.”

Verstappen can’t start any higher than fourth on Sunday due to picking up a three-place grid drop after causing a collision with Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix.

It means Perez has the chance to be the lead Red Bull at the start of the race if he can qualify in the top three.

Yet Verstappen is keen not to dwell on the penalty and hopes to extend his championship lead on Sunday.

“I think you can reflect all you like but it’s important to look forward and keep pushing,” said the Dutchman.

“I still believe it was a racing incident, but we have been given a three-place grid penalty and we just have to work with it now.

“The race in Monza definitely wasn’t our day for many reasons, but now I just plan to look forward to Sochi.

“The penalty is of course not ideal but nothing is lost, that’s how I look at it.

“As for the Drivers’ Championship, we still have a lot of races ahead of us and it’s a very tiny margin. 

“We will try and make the most from the weekend and work with the package we have.”

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