Sergio Perez dispels Damon Hill’s belief with Christian Horner and Toto Wolff insight

Susie Wolff is thrown a surprised birthday party

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Damon Hill’s suggestion that the apparent feud between Toto Wolff and Christian Horner is little more than “a front” has been rejected by Sergio Perez. The Mexican, who has called the latter his boss over the past year, shared some insight into the way Horner works which suggests his side of the argument, at least, comes from a place of genuine passion.

As the on-track rivalry between title-chasers Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen was heating up, something similar was happening in the pit lane.

Tensions between Mercedes team principal Wolff and his Red Bull counterpart Horner were becoming more and more obvious with each passing week.

Both have been heard complaining to the FIA and race director Michael Masi during races, including at the controversial finale in Abu Dhabi.

Horner got his wish after his plea to Masi to let the championship be decided under racing conditions, before Wolff was heard screaming at the Australian over the radio as the safety car was ended earlier than expected.

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Even in individual interviews there was some one-upmanship, as Wolff responded to being dubbed a “control freak” by dismissing Horner as “a windbag who just wants to be on camera”.

When interviewed together, though, they were far more well behaved and even shook hands for the cameras ahead of that final race in the UAE.

That left Hill questioning whether the tension between them was ever truly real, or if it had been manufactured to an extent.

“It’s just so sad that you have these two camps, they’re both experiencing all the pressure, the victories, the defeats, the rivalry, but they can’t share it [the victory] together,” he told the F1 Nation podcast.

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“Maybe one day, when the war is over, they will be able to have a cup of tea together.

“Christian made it abundantly clear in Qatar that he was not going to [make up with Wolff].

“I just think it’s a front, I think it’s a front that they put on.”

The Qatar comments referred to by Hill cover Horner’s pledge “not to kiss Toto’s a***” when pressed on whether the pair would eventually work out a relationship.

But it seems the 1996 world champion believes there is not as much real friction there as what meets the eye.

However, Red Bull driver Perez appears to have dismissed the idea that any of the passion shown by Horner is fake after describing what he has seen from the Englishman in their year working together.

Asked by GPFans if he believes the rivalry is real, the Mexican said: “Well, I think it’s a lot the situation we [were] in.

“They are our main competitors. I don’t know for Toto, I don’t know how he’s at work and so on.

“But just speaking for Christian, Red Bull Racing, it’s his life. It’s everything. He gives everything for it. He gets very passionate and I think it’s great to see.

“The sport is great to see drivers with character. It’s great to see team bosses with character. It’s part of the sport at the end of the day.”

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