F1 | São Paulo GP | Perez: "After all I’ve done for him, it’s a bit disappointing to be honest" — Red Bull drivers talk about team orders dispute
Max Verstappen showed his ruthless side once more as he refused to cede P6 to Sergio Perez at the end of the race in Interlagos yesterday.
Brazil saw two pieces of Formula 1 history. On Friday, Kevin Magnussen and Haas stunned the racing world by taking pole position. Yesterday, George Russell drove an immaculate race to secure his first Grand Prix win.
However, the big talking point since the chequered flag has been the flashpoint between Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.
An incident with Hamilton early on in the race left the Dutchman at the back of the field. He came back into play late in the race thanks to a Safety Car as the marshals had to retrieve Lando Norris’ McLaren.
Verstappen was on soft tyres versus Perez on mediums. The Mexican dropped from P3 to P7 as he was swallowed up by the two Ferraris and Alonso as well.
Perez told Sky Sports post-race that he let Verstappen by with five laps to go because he was told he would get the place back.
That never happened despite repeated requests on the radio from Verstappen’s race engineer on the last lap.
“I was told him to let by, that I was going to get back the position [if he failed to pass Alonso].
“I don’t know what was the communications with him on his side."
Perez was told about Verstappen’s ‘I gave my reasons’ message, but he had no idea what it could be about.
“No idea. Maybe you should ask him about it.
“Nothing to say, really. After all I’ve done for him, it’s a bit disappointing to be honest. I’m really surprised.”
The 32-year-old now heads into the final race of the campaign tied on points with Charles Leclerc for P2 in the Drivers’ Championship.
Checo believes the internal discussion post-race will see Verstappen work to help him in Abu Dhabi and beyond.
“But it’s good we keep this discussion internally and we move on as a team. Obviously I’m disappointed, especially after all I’ve done, but I’m sure we are all grown-ups and we will move forward for the team.
“I’m sure it will be different, not only in Abu Dhabi but going forwards,” said Perez on the working relationship with Verstappen.
“We will always put the team in front of our interests.”
After crossing the line within half a second or Alonso, GianPiero Lambiase asked ‘what happened’ as Verstappen had not given the place back. The Dutchman’s response was direct.
“I told you already last time, you guys don’t ask that again to me, OK? Are we clear about that? I gave my reasons and I stand by it,” said the two-time World Champion.
Verstappen refused to explain the exact reason for ignoring the instructions to the media afterwards, but it seems that it goes back to the Monaco Grand Prix in May when Sergio Perez crashed at the end of qualifying.
“That’s why I first went to speak to the team before I came here, and we put everything on the table why, and I gave my reasons.
“I’m not going to say why, but I think they understood. And I’ve already explained it to them before, so it was not new to me and it was not new to them.
“But I think it’s more important as a team now that we reset together — all together — and we really put everything on the table, and importantly we move forwards; we go to Abu Dhabi.
The Dutchman told Sky Sports that he will help his stablemate in Abu Dhabi if he needs it.
“Of course we want to win the race, but also if there is a chance to help Checo, I will. But that’s why it’s important we had this meeting now.”
Verstappen did understand why his teammate was disappointed with him after the help Checo provided in Abu Dhabi last year, but says the team needs to see why he disregarded team instructions.
“I understand why he’s disappointed, but they also have to understand why I did it, and I gave them the reasons why.
“It was finally good that we all sat together and I think we are professional enough to move forward… I guess so [that it was accepted] — we are not babies.”