An unwanted controversy erupted during the Sao Paulo Grand Prix as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen had a conflict with teammate Sergio Perez on Sunday. Verstappen refused to give up his place for Perez on the final laps of the race. Perez helped Verstappen beat seven-time champion, Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes, to take his first driver’s title with defensive driving in 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
However, Perez needs every point to beat Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to overall runner-up while Verstappen has already clinched the title. Red Bull have never finished one-two in the drivers’ standings.
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Verstappen made a selfish decision during the race when he collided with Mercedes’s Lewis Hamilton as engineer Gianpiero Lambiase asked him to let Perez through at the finish but ignored it and took sixth. Perez ended up seventh.
“Max, what happened?," asked Lambiase.
“I told you already last time, you guys don’t ask that again to me, okay?" replied Verstappen. “Are we clear about that? I gave my reasons and I stand by it."
Tension after the flag for Max and Checo 🏁#BrazilGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/hyEX5OZwa9— Formula 1 (@F1) November 13, 2022
Television commentators speculated that the ‘last time’ Verstappen was referring to might be Monaco, where Perez crashed late in qualifying but lined up third with his team mate fourth.
Perez won that race with Verstappen third after a ‘double-stacked’ pitstop.
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Red Bull wanted to support the Mexican’s bid to finish ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in the drivers’ title race – but they are now level on 290 points with one race to go and the Monegasque ahead on race wins.
Verstappen said he and Perez had drawn a line under the dispute and moved on – just as he and Red Bull recently ‘moved on’ after a row with Sky SportsF1 over an alleged bias against the team led them to snub the broadcaster in Mexico.
(With Agency Inputs)
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