Sergio Perez hit out after Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen refused to let him passed for fifth place at the 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix with the Mexican battling Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc for second place in the F1 Drivers’ Championship.
Perez eventually finished seventh in Sao Paulo despite running in second for large portions of the race and putting the pressure on the Mercedes of George Russell for the lead after being caught out on older medium tyres in the late stages following a Safety Car.
The Red Bull driver is now level on 290 points with Leclerc in the 2022 Driver Standings heading into the final round at the Abu Dhabi GP, and he was left disappointed after Verstappen refused team order to let Perez through for sixth in the final laps of the race.
What happened on team radio in Brazil?
Verstappen said on the radio that he had made his reasons clear with Red Bull about why he wouldn’t let Perez through, but the Mexican was left wondering what had happened and why his teammate refused to give up the position.
“I always thought I was going to get back the position, I don’t know what the communication was with him.,” Perez told Sky Sports F1.
And he said he had no idea about the reasons that Verstappen was referring to when he refused to give up the position.
“No idea. Maybe you should ask him. Nothing to say really, after all I’ve done for him it’s really disappointing to be honest. I’m really surprised,” Perez said.
“I have my reasons”
Verstappen said that he had previously made it clear his stance when asked why he didn’t let his teammate pass him despite the Dutchman having already wrapped up the championship for 2022 and Perez in need of points in the race for the runner up spot.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1, Verstappen said: “I have my reasons for that and we discussed that,” he said.
“And I think it’s good that we finally sat together and talked about it and moved on from here.
“If we go to Abu Dhabi and he needs the help, I’ll be there, and it’s good that we have talked about it and cleared everything up about why I didn’t to it.”
Horner: Checo the priority
Meanwhile, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner emphasised to Sky Sports F1 that securing second place for Perez at the final race of the season was the team’s main focus, and he said that Verstappen would do what he can to help make that happen.
“For us, Checo is now tied on points with Charles…and we go into Abu Dhabi doing our very best to achieve that second place and Max will fully support that,” Horner said.
“I am not going to go into what we discussed behind closed doors. The drivers have discussed it and shook hands, and we are absolutely focussed on that next race.”
Horner also refuted the suggestion that the Verstappen camp believed their priorities outweighed those of the team.
“No. We work as a team, we race as a team and our objective and priority is to see if we can get Checo to finish runner up in the championship,” Horner said.
“It’s something we have never achieved as a team before, and Max has given his commitment as well that we will do the best that we can in Abu Dhabi to achieve that.
“It’s a straight fight between Checo and Charles, and if Max can help in any way then he will do.
“Checo has done a phenomenal job all year and he deserves that second place, and I think that as a team we will do our very best to support that and achieve that in Abu Dhabi.”
Issues began at 2022 Monaco GP
Although there is no official reason given, with Verstappen and Horner refusing to them make public, there have been suggestions that the Dutchman is bitter from Perez crashing during 2022 Monaco GP Qualifying.
F1 reporter for Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf Erik van Haren confirmed that Perez deliberately crashed in Monaco, and admitted that to Helmut Marko and Christian Horner.
And it’s been suggested that Verstappen was not happy with the Mexican for the move, which meant nobody, including Verstappen, could improve their lap time so Perez started third, ahead of his teammate who was fourth.
Perez went on to win the race after taking advantage of a strategy blunder from Ferrari, whilst Verstappen was third.
In addition, during Verstappen’s post-race interview with Sky Sports F1, he was asked if Monaco was the reason, and the Dutchman replied: “I’ll let you decide that.”
What a child. Checo has done nothing but help this idiot. Checo should have been this years champion, not Max. I didn’t like Max in the beginning but got onboard because of Horner and how he runs the team. This incident has erased my loyalty to Max once and for all!
Well said, Max is disgrace and an awful sportsman.
Well said, Verstappen has shown his true colours again. Hates being behind anybody else, and expects everyone to get out of his way. From his comments about his anointed with Lewis tell the story. He was not going to give way whatever the cost.
Neither Max or Horner are likable. They both are not good for the future of F1