Red bull F1 row: drivers go head-on in a battle of words

Franz Tost Germany

Red bull F1 teammates Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen’s amity severed after the Brazilian GP team orders dispute.

The 2022 Brazilian GP was arguably not the best race for the red bull F1 team this season. It was the only race except for the season opener in Bahrain where red bull failed to score even a single podium. The race also marked the end of red bull’s 9-race win streak.

Both the drivers Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen failed to come in the top 3 and even the top 5.

The weekend was especially horrible for Max Verstappen who is looking in exceptional form this season. Firstly, the sprint and then the main race, Verstappen had a weekend to forget in Sao Paulo.

Anyways, there is one more thing that Verstappen will need to forget – his actions in the race. The Dutchman lost places due to his controversial collision with Lewis Hamilton on lap 7. He ended up in the back of the grid after he replaced his front wing.

Perez got caught in the middle of a mess

Sergio Perez unlike Verstappen was having an uneventful race with the Mexican holding on to P3 for most of the race behind George Russell and Lewis Hamilton.

However, after the second safety car restart, Perez found himself in a terrible position. The Mexican was on medium Tyres while everyone around him was on soft Tyres making him a sitting duck for everyone to target. And this eventually did happen.

Sergio Perez was P3 at the restart on lap 60. However, by lap 65, he was overtaken by both the Ferraris behind him followed by Fernando Alonso. Perez had slipped to P6 by the end of lap 65. Sergio Perez now had got Verstappen on his rear.

Perez was unsurprisingly told to let Verstappen through given the fact he was faster. Verstappen initiated his chase to catch Alonso in P5 however, couldn’t do so.

Verstappen denies helping his teammate

As Verstappen failed to chase down Alonso, he was ordered to give the place back to Perez. This was important for Perez in his fight with Charles Leclerc for P2 in the drivers’ championship.

On the final lap, Verstappen was given a last chance to chase down Alonso by turn 12. However, if he failed he had to give the place back to Perez. His race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase said this on the radio:

“This is the final lap, Max. Max, if we don’t pass Fernando on the exit of 12 can we let Checo through, please, let Checo back through.”

This message was followed by two more requests by Lambiase on the radio:

“Don’t worry about the DRS, Max. Let Checo through. Max, let’s Checo through, please.”
“Max, what happened?”

added Lambiase.

Verstappen bluntly replied to this denying the position to Checo:

“I told you already last time you guys, don’t ask that again to me. Okay? Are we clear about that? I gave my reasons and I stand by it.”

Perez disappointed

Sergio Perez was informed by his race engineer Hugh Bird that Verstappen would be giving him the place at the exit of turn 12. However, that never happened to disappoint the Mexican.

“Okay if Max does not pass Fernando, he’ll you through at the exit of turn 12,”

said Bird on the radio.

“Okay so Max will let you through,”

added Bird.

Perez replied greeting on the radio for the gesture:

“Okay. Thank you for that, guys. Thank you.”

However, Verstappen never let him by and the Mexican finished the race in P7 losing those crucial couple of points for his fight with Leclerc. Red bull boss Christian Horner himself came on the radio to apologize to Checo:

“I’m sorry about that, Checo,”

said Horner on the radio.

Perez was also hugely disappointed and targeted Max on the radio itself:

“Yeah, thank you for that guys. Thank you. This shows who he [Verstappen] really is.”

The reason behind the denial by Verstappen is unclear but it seemed to have ignited a rift within the red bull F1 garage. Perez and Leclerc go level with 290 points in the season finale at Abu Dhabi.

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