Max Verstappen detailed why he refused to help teammate Sergio Perez at the 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix, and said he told Red Bull not to expect any teamwork earlier in the season.
Running sixth at Interlagos he had chance to let Perez ahead to help the Mexican in his battle with Charles Leclerc for second place in the Drivers’ Championship but stayed ahead and told the team to not question him about the incident over team radio.
Verstappen was furious with the media ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, after reports he was getting back at Perez for deliberately crashing in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix but his comments seem to hint those reports could be correct.
“It wasn’t about the position, it doesn’t matter if it’s first or second or six or seventh or tenth, it was about something that happened earlier in the season,” Verstappen said.
“And I already explained that in Mexico and the team understood and agreed. We went to to Brazil and I just thought, we’re going to race, tried to get the best possible results.
“And yeah, we had a bit of a miscommunication. On Saturday and Sunday nothing had been said to me about a potential swap or whatever, it only came into that last lap that it was said on the radio.
“They should have known my response already from what I said the week before.”
Perez was fuming with his teammate after the race and said it showed his true character.
He finished seventh after a strong race was ruined by his tyre condition in a late safety car period, meaning he’s level on points with Leclerc heading into the final round.
However, Leclerc is ahead by virtue of winning more races, so Perez will have to outscore his rival and can’t afford to retire from the race.
It’s not an empty accolade for Red Bull either, as with Verstappen‘s title this could be the first time the team secure 1-2 in the drivers’ championship.
However, Verstappen said he thought the team wouldn’t have any issues if he had to help Perez in Abu Dhabi.
Verstappen added: “After that race we had some good discussion, we put everything on the table and everything has been solved.
“So in hindsight we should have had that conversation earlier, I think what we learned from that is that we have to be a little bit more open and we just have to communicate better to each other.”