Sergio Perez has come under fire for lashing out at Max Verstappen after the reigning two-time world champion ignored team orders and refused to let the Mexican pass on the final lap at Interlagos. Dutch Grand Prix boss Jan Lammers claimed Perez’s post-race comments were “below the belt” before launching a dig at the four-time Grand Prix winner.
Red Bull lacked pace in Brazil, with George Russell and Lewis Hamilton scoring a famous one-two for Mercedes and Ferrari taking the checkered flag just behind. Pérez later let Verstappen pass under team orders to try and chase down Fernando Alonso in fifth, but the Dutchman ran out of time.
In the final few corners, Verstappen was asked to hand the position back to Pérez after failing to close the gap to Alonso. Instead, he kept quiet and crossed the finish line, immediately explaining, “I already told you guys last summer. Don’t ask me that again, okay? Are we clear? I gave my reasons and I stand by.” sign”. it’s.”
Many were shocked by the 24-year-old’s conduct, given that he has nothing to fight for and Perez is in a close battle for second place in the Drivers’ Championship. The Mexican was clearly upset by the decision, as his selfless hard work has undoubtedly contributed to Verstappen’s success over the past two years.
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When Red Bull boss Christian Horner apologized to Perez over team radio, he replied: “This shows who [Verstappen] he really is.” Boldly, he later claimed that Verstappen’s championships were his doing. “I don’t understand what his reaction was,” he said. “If he has two championships, it’s thanks to me.”
Lammers, who has raced for teams including ATS and Shadow during his own F1 career, did not take kindly to Perez’s “below-the-belt” comments and appeared to mock the 32-year-old by suggesting he would have jumped at the chance. to sign an extension from Red Bull, as he did earlier this year, even if it meant sacrificing second in the Championship.
“Perez says that Verstappen owes him his two titles, but he also said that now he has seen the true nature of Verstappen, which I think is quite personal,” he explained, according to PlanetF1. “It’s a personal insult to Max’s character, which was unnecessary and below the belt. Because if Red Bull had required in his contract that he finish third, I think he would have signed with a very thick marker.”
With Verstappen away and clear, every point remains crucial for Perez in his bid for second place in the standings. His P7 in Brazil, combined with Charles Leclerc’s impressive comeback to finish fourth, has left the pair well-placed on 290 points each with just one Grand Prix remaining this season.
After a tense dispute, Pérez claimed that the team had managed to resolve their differences, at least publicly, in a carefully worded statement on social media. “What a day yesterday”, he wrote on Monday.
“A sure podium but the lack of rhythm made it difficult for the SC [Safety Car]. Now let’s focus on Abu Dhabi. With Max and the team, everything was discussed yesterday and will be maintained internally, this is behind us and we will continue working as the great team we have been up to now.”
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