Max Verstappen has hit out at his social media critics and said people attacking his family online are ‘disgusting’ as he continues to face backlash for refusing to help teammate Sergio Perez at the end of Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
He’s been criticised by journalists, fans and ex-drivers after he ignored team orders, but the rift between Verstappen and Perez blew even wider following the race when The Dutchman’s mother Sophie Kumpen accused Perez of cheating on his wife.
“All the things that I’ve read, it’s pretty disgusting,” Verstappen told the press. “Even more than that, you know, they started attacking my family, they were threatening my sister and my mum, my girlfriend, my dad.
“And for me that goes way too far while you don’t even have the facts of what actually was going on.
“And that definitely has stopped if you have a problem with me, that’s fine, but don’t go after my family because that is just unacceptable. But we move on.”
Verstappen: The media contributes to social media problems
The comments came as part of an extraordinary tirade Verstappen made in his press conference ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
In recent months his relationship with the media has become increasingly fractured, starting with Red Bull’s boycott of Sky Sports at the Mexican Grand Prix that was reportedly driven by Verstappen’s father Jos.
Sky’s Ted Kravitz described Verstappen’s 2021 World Championship as ‘robbed’ from Lewis Hamilton in an episode of ‘Ted’s Notebook’, which drew the ire of Verstappen‘s camp.
Then, following criticism about his behaviour at the end of the Brazilian Grand Prix, he took aim at the media and said they were contributing to the backlash he’s received from fans.
“But at the end of the day, you contribute to all the problems social media has by writing these kinds of things,” Verstappen told the media. “It’s just incredibly disappointing to read these kinds of things.
“It’s just unacceptable behaviour of so many people, also in this paddock, it’s not only fans, but a lot of people what they have been writing about me it’s just ridiculous.”