Updated:Nov 15, 2022
The Brazilian Grand Prix’s Sunday race saw action from all ends. Haas driver Mick Schumacher who had obtained the pole position after the qualifying race really thought he had a chance of making the podium. His dreams were quickly shattered however after a frustrating collision with McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo when the race was only just getting started.
But this was merely the beginning of the drama, there was more to unfold in the later laps between Red Bull drivers, Max Verstappen and his teammate Sergio Perez. It left fans feeling confused as to whether the pair were even teammates at all, but instead perhaps rivals.
Verstappen’s true colours shone through the façade he had created of a true champion. His ignorance gleamed through with his refusal to follow team orders and let Sergio overtake him.
This sent fans into a verbal rampage on Twitter with heavy criticisms towards the two-world champion. Some went as far as to burn his merchandise.
In his interview, Perez stated: “After all I’ve done for him, it’s a bit disappointing to be honest.” He later went on to claim that he was ‘really surprised’ that his teammate refused to let him past at the end of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.Embed from Getty Images
Checo was only 4 seconds behind and so far, he’s only ever proven to be a great help to Verstappen time and time again.
Perez’s overtake of Verstappen would have been a strategic move as Perez desperately needed P6 to help him win the fight with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, for second in the F1 standings. Instead, Verstappen’s selfish resistance has left Perez and Leclerc tied in the standings. Had he played his part and followed the instructions told over the radio; Perez would hold a two-point advantage.
Rather embarrassing for Max, his race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase broadcasted through the radio: “Max, what happened?” after he had made clear to Verstappen that he should bestow sixth to Perez.Embed from Getty Images
Tension arose to a new level when Verstappen bluntly replied with: “I told you already last time. Don’t ask that again to me. Are we clear about that? I gave my reasons and I stand by it”
On Perez’s channel, Horner apologised for Max’s behaviour, to which Perez replied: “It shows who he really is”.Embed from Getty Images
Back in Mexico City, two races prior to the Sao Paulo race, Perez expressed just how much he wished to become the first Mexican to win his home race. Once again Verstappen stood in the way of his teammate’s hopes and dreams, saying that he would not step to one side to help his teammate achieve his goal. If it wasn’t for Perez’s good sportsmanship, Verstappen may not have won his two world titles. There were at least eight instances in last year’s season where Perez has run interference for Verstappen in his nerve-racking title race with Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.
If Perez hadn’t had complied in the Spanish Grand Prix in May, to let his fellow teammate through, there is little chance that Verstappen would have won the race.
Following their dispute, Horner claimed that the drivers shook hands on Sunday after their team meeting.Embed from Getty Images
Through his careless actions, Verstappen has sent out a message to the team that orders are optional. His despicable behaviour at the Sao Paulo race will have been met with damaging consequences. Let’s hope for his sake that he manages to redeem himself, not only to his team but to disappointed fans too.